A trial for the Spanish anesthetist who is accused of infecting 276 people with hepatitis C has began. Juan Maeso is a former chief anaesthetist at the local La Fe maternity hospital in Valencia. Besides infecting, the charges include two counts of negligent homicide for the death of two of the patients and the prosecutors are asked for 2,214-year jail sentence. Juan Maeso is denying the accusations.
The doctor is suspected of drug addiction, and accused of administering anaesthetics using needles he had used to inject himself with drugs. .
The infections took place between 1988 and 1997 in four health centers in the Valencia region.
Suspicion was made by doctors from two insurance companies who noticed an explosion in cases of hepatitis C in 1997. Hepatitis C is a liver disease passed on intravenously which can lead to cirrhosis and cancer of the liver. The doctors requested review of sterilization procedures in the private clinic where Maseo worked. A year later, it was discovered that the virus found in the infected patients was identical to the virus carried by the anaesthetist.
The trial and investigations are going to last for at least one year, and after all the evidence a decision will be made.