Family of Hep-C Victim Wants More Investigation - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Family of Hep-C Victim Wants More Investigation

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One of the challenges in reporting on a situation such as the Hepatitis-C outbreak in Minot is that all medical records are private.

And their privacy is assured by federal regulations known as HIPPA.

HIPPA prevents any medical worker from divulging information about a patient's case - even a patient's name.

That means in a case such as this, we have to rely on a patient or family member volunteering information about the situation.

And that has now happened.

Jim Olson continues his report on the Minot Hepatitis Mystery with two women who want answers about how their father contracted the disease.

(Tam Black, Daughter of Hepatitis-C Patient) "It's scary."

(Jan Laudenschlager, Daughter of Hepatitus-C Patient) "It shouldn't have happened."

That's how the daughters of one of the 44 people infected with Hepatitis-C in the Minot outbreak characterize what's happening. It's scary. And it shouldn't have happened.

(Tam Black, Daughter of Hepatitis-C Patient) "The majority of Hepatitis-C is from drug use or tattoos and that's not my dad. So they were embarrassed, they didn't want to tell people, it's still scary, you don't know how it's going to affect his body."

It's scary for Tam Black's father because he doesn't know how the disease will impact him and his family. And for Jan Laudenschlager, it's frustrating that so many people, including her father, are now stricken with a disease that could shorten their lives.

(Jan Laudenschlager, Daughter of Hepatitus-C Patient) "For months they didn't want to go anywhere and they're still concerned about it."

The sisters have become medical detectives, trying to get to the bottom of the situation - even as the State Health Department and U.S. Centers for Disease Control conducted official investigations.

(Jan Laudenschlager, Daughter of Hepatitus-C Patient) "We'd just like to know how he got it. And the rest of these people how they contracted it too."

The problem is, the State Health Department's preliminary report on the outbreak finds no specific cause for the disease hitting 44 people.

(Jan Laudenschlager, Daughter of Hepatitus-C Patient) "It's pretty large. And that's why to not come up with a cause or even the original person who had Hepatitis-C is very frustrating for us. "

(Tam Black, Daughter of Hepatitis-C Patient) "Dad was in there for six days. And he only had two blood draws and a tuberculosis test and it seems like using dad as a baseline they should be able to figure this out. We'd just like to get everyone back to the table and look at it again."

(Dr. Casmiar Nwaigwe, Trinity Hospital) "How can somebody spend six days in a nursing home and come out with Hepatitis-C. It just shouldn't happen."

That's Dr. Casmiar Nwaigwe, head of infectious disease at Trinity Hospital in Minot. He is not happy to hear that the investigation may end without identifying the exact source of the outbreak.

(Dr. Casmiar Nwaigwe, Trinity Hospital) "I think that would be a travesty. Particularly to the people who have contracted this infection and their families."

(Jan Laudenschlager, Daughter of Hepatitus-C Patient) "I don't think these people should be forgotten. I think they deserve to know why they got it."

Tomorrow, we'll hear from the State Health Department and CDC about how the outbreak has been investigated. Jim Olson, KX News.

The sisters you just met are trying to help their father treat the disease.

He needs an expensive medicine that the Veterans Administration won't pay for, so they're trying to find out if he might qualify for some help with the cost.

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