Attorneys want hepatitis trial moved
LINCOLN - A judge was asked Tuesday to relocate the trial
one of scores of lawsuits stemming from a massive hepatitis
Attorneys for Dr. Tahir Javed and nurse Linda Prochaska,
publicity in the case, requested a change of venue for a civil
malpractice lawsuit filed against them by the family of Cheryl
She died in March of liver complications after allegedly
hepatitis C at Javed's former clinic in Fremont.
Dodge County District Judge John Samson did not indicate when
would rule on the request.
Javed is accused of using unsanitary practices that caused 99
to contract the disease between March 2000 and December 2001.
The Fremont outbreak was the largest of its kind in the
perhaps the world, according to the federal Centers for
Control and Prevention.
At least 81 lawsuits have been filed against Javed.
Javed left the country for his native Pakistan around the time
the first hepatitis cases were detected.
The state has since revoked Javed's medical license.
In a settlement reached with the state, Javed admitted to
unsanitary practices at his clinic.
Hepatitis C is a viral infection of the liver and the most
bloodborne infection in the nation. The virus causes no
most cases and the majority of carriers do not know they are
The virus affects the liver and eventually can lead to
It can take as long as 20 years for hepatitis C to cause liver
failure, and those infected rarely show symptoms.
The outbreak involves genotype 3A, a strain that accounts for
than 10 percent of all U.S. viral hepatitis C cases.
The Javed lawsuits are threatening to wipe out Nebraska's
Nebraska's Excess Liability Fund was established in 1976 and
to pay claims in excess of a doctor's individual private
insurance. Participating doctors pay annually into the fund,
is meant to defray the costs of malpractice insurance.
About 3,100 doctors pay into the fund.
The fund now has $55 million, but is expected to pay out an
estimated $46 million to settle pending claims - not including
of those filed against Javed.
Tim Wagner, head of the state Department of Insurance, has
if the Javed case exhausts the fund, the doctors would be
to pay the remaining claims - which potentially could equal
millions of dollars.
The outcome could be worse if Nebraska did not have a cap on
malpractice claims. The Legislature passed a bill last session
increasing the damage cap from $1.25 million to $1.75 million.