Widow Files Lawsuit Blaming Las Vegas Clinic for Husband's Death

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A retired hotel maid whose husband died in 2006
after contracting the hepatitis C virus has filed the first wrongful death lawsuit against a Las Vegas clinic at the center of a regional health scare.

57-year-old Janice Cromwell alleges her 60-year-old husband, James Ray Cromwell, contracted fatal liver disease from unsafe injection practices at the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada.

Her lawyer says it wasn't until after public health officials blamed the clinic for reusing syringes and single-use vials that Cromwell began to suspect the source of her husband's fatal illness.

The Southern Nevada Health District announced February 27th that six former patients were being treated for acute hepatitis C traced to the clinic.

Officials began sending notices to some 40,000 people who were treated at the clinic from March 2004 to last January, urging them to get blood tests to check for hepatitis B, C and HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Health district officials announced a seventh case of hepatitis C on Tuesday -- involving a 2006 patient at the Desert Shadow Endoscopy Center.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)