Bellevue, WA – September 13, 2016
For Immediate Release
Sandra was devastated to find out that she contracted hepatitis C from a regular visit to her dentist at the International Community Health Services (ICHS) dental clinic in Bellevue, WA. Ms. Young contracted the highly contagious and incurable disease during her routine teeth cleaning in June of 2016. She was shocked to find out from the clinic that she was infected from cross contaminated dental equipment. Ms. Young is represented by Jason Epstein, at Premier Law Group, PLLC, the Personal Injury Law Firm, based in Bellevue, Washington.
ICHS is the largest Asian and Pacific Islander health care provider in Washington state, providing care to thousands of patients each year in seven locations throughout the region. As of 2014, the Bellevue clinic reported providing medical and dental care to over 1,800 patients.
Ms. Young’s attorney, Jason Epstein, expressed concern regarding this potential public health crisis. “As a community health clinic serving a diverse and large population of the Eastside and the greater Seattle area, it is vital that we ensure proper protocols are followed to protect patient safety.”
“I was shocked and disappointed to learn that Sandra contracted Hepatitis C from such a routine procedure. This was 100% preventable. I hope that we can help prevent this from happening to a wonderful person like Sandra in the future.”
Sandra Interview :
What is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is a disease caused by a virus that infects the liver. The virus, called the Hepatitis C virus, or HCV for short, is just one of the hepatitis viruses.
To date, no vaccination against Hepatitis C exists; the only choice for prevention is to avoid exposure to the virus. All of the hepatitis viruses cause similar damage to the liver; the viruses themselves are all different, including the characteristics of the diseases caused.
How is Hepatitis C transmitted?
Hepatitis B, C, D, and G are transmitted by percutaneous (through the skin) or permucosal (through mucous membranes) contact with contaminated blood or other body fluids.
It can be contracted and spread through blood transfusions (performed before 1992), unprotected sex, intravenous drug use with dirty or shared needles, body piercings and tattoos using non-sterile ink and needles, and sharing personal items such as toothbrushes, razors and nail clippers. It is not spread through exposure to sweat, urine or tears or close contact with an infected person who sneezes or coughs.
How common is Hepatitis C in the United States?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that there are about 36,000 new Hepatitis C infections a year in the United States, compared with at least 140,000 new annual cases of Hepatitis B. While there are fewer new cases of type C than type B, there is a much greater risk of developing chronic (long-term) hepatitis with type C. In fact, 80-85 percent of those infected with type C will retain the virus in their bodies for the rest of their lives, and 70 percent will have chronic liver damage. It is estimated that 3.9 million (1.8 percent) Americans have been infected with Hepatitis C, of whom 2.7 million are chronically infected. Treatment of Hepatitis C is effective in only 10-40 percent of cases, and this disease causes 8,000 to 10,000 deaths a year in the U.S. from chronic liver damage.
Where can the public get more information?
The American Liver Foundation has a wealth of resources about preventing, screening/testing, treatment and living with Hepatitis C, including a dedicated website hepc123.org, a national helpline – 1-800-GO-LIVER, on-line communities for people living with Hepatitis C, and a national database of liver specialists.