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A new lawsuit has been filed in the hepatitis C scare. This time, the case is not about the doctors involved in the scare. Now lawyers are going after the patient's own insurance company.
Alynne Griffiths says she was forced to go to the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada. Her insurance company would only cover her two procedures if she went to a doctor at that center. She says going there gave her hepatitis C.
Griffiths looks and acts like a typical grandmother. Now 71-years-old, she retired from her art store business in early 2005 and moved to Las Vegas from Sacramento.
"California is really expensive and my daughter lives in Las Vegas, so I came to Las Vegas," she said.
She had two procedures at the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada -- one in 2005 and another in 2006. After that, everything changed, "I am used to being a real active person. I like to garden and do physical things. I go out now. I go out and in a few minutes, I got to go back in and sit down for a while."
Griffiths had no idea why she felt tired until March of 2008 when the health district sent out a letter to 63,000 people saying they may have been exposed to hepatitis C at two endoscopy centers. Griffiths tested positive.
"This should be the best time of my life -- retired and do what I want, when I want it. Now all of the energy is gone," she said.
She says not only would PacifiCare of Nevada only cover the procedures at the endoscopy center, for hepatitis C treatment, the insurance company will now only refer her to the very doctor who performed the procedures who she says gave her hepatitis C.
"I am not going to go back to him. Because why would I?" she said.
"They are sending her back to providers who were providing services at that clinic at the time all of this came down," said Attorney Gerald Gillock. He filed the lawsuit on behalf of Griffiths.
He says the insurance company had a responsibility to look out for the benefit of the patient. He thinks they failed miserably with Griffiths.
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday morning, but a hearing date has not yet been set. Lawyers tried to sue the insurance company of the doctors who own the endoscopy center. A judge threw that out saying the company did not have the obligation of inspecting the doctor's office.