Australia Abortionist Infects 50 Women With Hepatitis C Virus

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 16, 2011   |   12:20PM   |   Croydon, Australia

An abortion practitioner in Australia has infected 50 women with the same strain of hepatitis C and the victims are asking officials to charge James Latham Peters saying they don’t think it was a coincidence.

The heath chief of the Australian state of Victoria released the accusations against the abortion practitioner in April of last year concerning the infections at the Croydon Day Surgery abortion business. The health department investigation into the abortion operation where James Latham Peters was the anesthesiologist involved asking as many as 3,600 women who had abortions at his center since 2006 about their experience at the abortion facility.

The Victorian Police and the Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria revealed last year that the patients’ infections are an identical genetic match to his own hepatitis C strain in 22 of the confirmed 44 cases. Another 19 women shoed signs of infection but officials could not confirm whether they obtained it from the abortion center.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Dr John Carnie told the Herald Sun newspaper the investigation has now concluded but he can’t say whether the infections were intentional.

“It would be very hard to determine some accidental means that would involve this number of patients at just the one clinic,” Dr Carnie said.

“This is an extremely traumatic and distressing episode for these patients,” he added. “Many of them will be extremely angry that they have been put at risk.”

While victims await word on whether the police will press charges, they have moved ahead with a class action lawsuit against the abortion practitioner and the abortion business. Slater & Gordon lawyer Paula Shelton told the newspaper they are upset by the slow progress in the case since the discovery last year.

“It’s pretty tough for them looking down the barrel of a serious chronic illness, which can cause liver failure,” she said. “It’s very interesting that having tested patients from other facilities they’re now saying that there are no infections so there is something very, very special about this (Croydon) clinic that has allowed this to happen.”

One mother of two who has an 98.8 percent match of the virus to Peters said she is upset officials have not charged him in connection with the infections. She told the Herald Sun, “I’m blown away that it has taken this long. I’m mortified, I just feel let down.”

Peters has been prohibited from practicing medicine and he reportedly has a history of drug usage and was convicted of possessing child pornography. In 1996, he was convicted of forging more than 100 prescriptions for pethidine. The Age newspaper reported that the Croydon Day Surgery abortion business knew of the convictions but hired Peters anyway.