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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”




Last cases against Palo Alto lab worker dismissed

Associated Press

Two people who believe they were infected with HIV and hepatitis C by a lab worker who reused needles, plan to appeal a judge's dismissal of their cases.

The woman, known as Jane Doe in court documents, discovered she was HIV-positive after Elaine Giorgi drew her blood in 1997 and 1999.


"I just remember being shocked, like the feeling you get when someone dies," Doe, who asked not to be identified, told the San Jose Mercury News for a story Saturday. "You know your life is never going to be the same again."

Doe is one of dozens who sued Giorgi and her employer, SmithKline Beecham Clinical Laboratories, seeking financial compensation in a case that drew national attention. But last month, a judge dismissed the last two cases, including Doe's.

Doe is one of about 3,600 people who had their blood drawn by Giorgi, who admitted reusing needles to draw blood from patients at a Palo Alto laboratory from 1997 to 1999.

Giorgi, 57, served about half of a one-year jail sentence after pleading no contest in June 2002 to felony charges of illegally disposing of medical waste, said her public defender Brian Matthews. She also had six months of electronic monitoring and is serving the remainder of her five-year probation sentence. She did not return a call to the Mercury News.

Jerry Orzoff, 72, who contracted hepatitis C, also had his case dismissed last month after Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Leslie C. Nichols said there was insufficient evidence the infections were caused by Giorgi.


"We do not believe that the technician was responsible for the infection of the plaintiffs in this case, and the court agreed," said Patricia Seif, a spokeswoman for GlaxoSmithKline, formerly SmithKline Beecham. She said Doe's and Orzoff's were the last cases outstanding.

No one knows why Giorgi reused the needles, though investigators said it may have been a misguided attempt to save the company money. SmithKline denied she was encouraged to cut costs.

Information from: San Jose Mercury News