Could the Hepatitis C outbreak in Minot have been spread intentionally?
A Trinity Health Vice President says it's a plausible scenario, an investigation he says Trinity has encouraged since day one.
Trinity Health filed its response this week to a lawsuit from ManorCare, accusing a Trinity employee of spreading Hepatitis-C to 46 people.
The Trinity response denies any involvement or wrongdoing by Trinity employees or services.
ManorCare claims that a Trinity employee - identified only as "Employee A" in the lawsuit - is responsible for infecting all 46 people who have contracted Hepatitis-C in an outbreak discovered in recent months.
Trinity Vice President Randy Schwan says that after an in-depth investigation conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and the North Dakota State Health Department, no link was found between the Hepatitis C cases in Minot and Trinity's phlebotomy or podiatry service.
(Randy Schwan, Trinity Health Vice President) "Based on the magnitude of this out break, there is absolutely no physiological, statistical or epidemiological way possible for Hepatitis C to be spread through either phlebotomy or podiatry services. It's impossible. Spreading this kind of thing over this length of time to this number of people through some kind of a sloppy needle use, even if you tried to, you couldn't do it."
Schwan says it was Trinity that notified the CDC of the outbreak in the first place, and the hospital remains committed to finding the cause.