VIDEO: Exeter Hospital Fails to Face Public
Hospital representatives did not attend a public meeting tonight.
Exeter Hospital representatives Friday night failed to show up and address the public during an open meeting about a hepatitis C outbreak at their hospital.
Several patients lashed out at the hospital for the outbreak, which has infected 20 people so far. State health officials expect that total to rise as more test results come in.
Officials have said the outbreak was likely caused by a drug-stealing hospital employee.
The state's top health officials held a meeting at Exeter High School to address the public's questions and concerns about the outbreak.
Dr. Jose Montero, the state public health director, said Exeter Hospital representatives were invited to the meeting. Montero said he found out through a press release the hospital issued that they would not show up.
That angered many of the roughly 100 people in attendance.
"Exeter Hospital can share hepatitis C with us, but they can't share information?" said Terry Murphy, an Exeter resident who was treated at Exeter Hospital's cardiac catheterization lab, where the outbreak occurred.
Murphy had another reason to be angry. He was one of hundreds people being tested for hepatitis C – a potentially deadly liver disease.
He submitted a blood sample to the hospital, but for some reason it was left untouched – and a nurse informed him he would have to submit another sample because the previous one was no good anymore. About two dozen other patients have to be retested, too.
"How much are we expected to put up with?" Murphy asked. "Once again, I'm a victim of Exeter Hospital's malfeasance."
You can watch Murphy express his frustration in the video at right.
Below is a statement Exeter Hospital put out a few hours before the meeting:
The New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) is hosting an open forum tonight at 6 p.m. at the Exeter High School in Exeter, NH. This meeting is intended for epidemiological experts at the DPHS to update the public on their investigation and answer questions about their findings.
Exeter Hospital does not have a formal role in the state’s proceedings tonight and in deference to the state’s request to keep the focus of the meeting on their efforts, Exeter Hospital will not be making any presentations or be taking any direct questions. It is possible that Exeter Hospital employees may attend the meeting on their own; however, they will not be in a position to comment on behalf of the hospital.
Exeter Hospital will respond appropriately, based on our current circumstances, to questions raised at the forum either via the media or other public avenues. Our ability to comment is somewhat limited by the initiation of an investigation by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office, but we will continue to provide the public with as much information as we can.
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