Puyallup hospital addresses hepatitis C scare
A man who says he became infected with hepatitis C after an emergency room visit to Good Samaritan Hospital is suing MultiCare Health System.
The unidentified man's lawyer filed the suit Friday claiming the man contracted the disease while being treated for kidney stones on Dec. 21, 2017, at the Puyallup hospital. Lawyers from Tacoma's Connelly Law Offices claim their client was treated by Cora Weberg, a nurse who was arrested Friday on suspicion of infecting patients with hepatitis C.
The suit claims the man was infected by a dirty syringe administered by Weberg, and he is now undergoing treatment and "has to live with severe emotional and mental anguish." He is seeking undisclosed damages.
The same week the man tested positive for hepatitis C, he received a letter from Good Samaritan informing him that he'd been treated by a nurse suspected of stealing drugs and infecting at least two other patients.
Puyallup police arrested Weberg on Friday at the U.S.-Canada border as she headed for a long-planned trip to Guam with her boyfriend. A preliminary statement of probable cause filed by police stated that Weberg "intentionally contaminated medicine or another substance with her own blood," which allegedly contained the virus, and administered the medicine to patients.
The statement from police seemingly conflicts with statements made earlier this week by Good Samaritan Hospital leaders, who said Weberg was "surprised" when told in March that she had contracted the hepatitis C virus.
Whether Cora Weberg is the source of the virus that infected the Good Samaritan patients is an open question. When Good Samaritan leaders announced a public safety alert Monday, they said they were certain that the two infected patients contracted the virus from the same source. They could not say whether Weberg was the source, though she had treated the patients in the hospital's emergency department.
Weberg's mother, Eunice Weberg, told The News Tribune on Friday that her daughter is innocent.
"Taking her and putting her in jail without having evidence or a cause, it's deplorable," she said. Eunice said her daughter does not think she has the disease. She said her daughter is not an intravenous drug user and is in a monogamous relationship.
Friday, Nigel Turner, Division Director of Communicable Disease Control at the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, was asked whether Weberg spread the virus or contracted it.
"That's a good question," Turner said. "I think that's something that we would be asking during the investigation."
Puyallup police spokesman Ryan Portmann said police did not interview Weberg at the time of her arrest, but added that police had sufficient cause to detain her.
Weberg was released from Pierce County Jail late Friday night, Pierce County court records state. The investigation into two counts of second-degree assault is ongoing.