Norman (Okla.) Regional Hospital, the site of a hepatitis C outbreak, said it will provide free medical care on a case-by-case basis to people who were exposed to the virus at the hospital and have tested positive for it. The outbreak originated in the 271-bed hospital's pain-management clinic, where a nurse is suspected of having reused needles to administer medication. Of more than 900 people checked for exposure, 80 have tested positive for hepatitis C and 53 have tested positive for hepatitis B, the hospital said. Tests have been performed on the majority of patients who received pain-management procedures by Jerry Lewis, M.D., and the nurse, Jim Hill, from May 1999 to August 2002. In some cases, the source of the hepatitis is not clear. According to the Oklahoma Department of Health, there's strong evidence that 17 cases of hepatitis C were not contracted at the clinic. The hospital said it faces between 20 and 30 lawsuits related to the outbreak. -- Susanna Moon
Okla. hospital defines extent of hepatitis crisis
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