In Hepatitis C Outbreak, Letter from Plaintiff's Attorneys Made Statute-of-Limitations Clock Start Ticking

July 13, 2020 | Aging Services Risk Management


The Supreme Court of North Dakota has affirmed dismissal of a lawsuit against a hospital system stemming from a nursing home resident's infection with hepatitis C, which allegedly resulted from drug diversion and unsafe injection practices by a phlebotomist whom the hospital employed. The court so ruled after finding that the claim was for malpractice and that a letter from the plaintiff's attorneys that the plaintiff received made the statute-of-limitations clock start ticking. Thus, his claim was untimely.

In 2013, an outbreak of hepatitis C infections was detected in Minot, North Dakota, as described in articles in the Minot Daily News from June 15, 2019 and January 30, 2020. At least 52 people were infected with a genetically similar strain of the virus, and most of those individuals had received care at a Minot nursing home. Patients and families initially sued the nursing home, but after the nursing home sued the hospital that provided phlebotomy services...

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