FARMINGTON — Another patient has filed a civil lawsuit against Davis Hospital and Medical Center and a nurse who faces criminal charges for allegedly diverting drugs and infecting patients with hepatitis C.
Daniel Harger, of Davis County, says in the 2nd District Court suit that the hospital negligently failed to prevent nurse Elet Neilson from tampering with patient medication, reusing syringes and exposing patients to disease.
Neilson administered two doses of morphine to Harger when he went to the emergency room on Sept. 5, 2011, for treatment of facial injuries, the suit said.
During unrelated medical treatment in November 2017, Harger tested positive for hepatitis C virus genotype 2b. That was the strain linked to Neilson, according to a 2016 investigation by the Utah Department of Health.
Harger and his wife, Gloria, are the plaintiffs in the latest suit, filed in August. Defendants are Neilson and the Davis hospital and its corporate owner, Iasis Healthcare Corp.
Attorneys for the hospital and Neilson have separately filed answering documents denying the Hargers' allegations.
In June, Karen Samulski, of Weber County, filed suit against Davis Hospital and 10 "John Doe" defendants.
The suit said Samulski was treated in the Davis emergency room by Neilson on Oct. 3, 2011. It alleged Neilson diverted some of Samulski's injectable medications and used contaminated syringes and-or needles on the patient.
Neilson, 52, of Layton, has encountered a cascade of occupational licensing discipline and legal troubles since 2013.
State authorities and federal prosecutors have alleged she is responsible for exposing patients to hepatitis C at the Davis hospital and McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden. The hospitals in 2015 sent letters warning 7,200 former patients that they may have been exposed to the virus, which can cause lifelong health problems.
In a July 2017 indictment, federal prosecutors in Salt Lake City charged Neilson with multiple counts of stealing and tampering with narcotics and causing people to become infected with the potentially life-threatening disease. Neilson has pleaded not guilty.
The contamination scare came to light in 2015.
The federal indictment says between July 2013 and November 2014, at least seven patients treated in the McKay-Dee emergency room were given intravenous opioid pain medications handled by Neilson before or during their administration. It says the patients were infected with not only the same hepatitis C genotype as Neilson, but also the same sub-genotype.
After she was fired by McKay-Dee, but before the hepatitis outbreak was known, Neilson pleaded guilty in Ogden 2nd District Court to a reduced charge of attempted possession or use of a controlled substance. She was accused of diverting doses of Dilaudid and morphine at McKay-Dee. On May 5, 2015, she was sentenced to two years of probation.
Records at the state Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing showed Neilson surrendered her nursing license on Nov. 5, 2015, and was prohibited from reapplying for licensure for five years.
The 2017 federal indictment says Neilson was employed at Davis Hospital from 2011 to 2013.
Previous disciplinary records from the state licensing agency show Neilson admitted in October 2013 to taking Benadryl from Davis Hospital without authorization multiple times between August 2012 and April 2013. As a punishment, she paid a $500 fine, according to records.
By the time she was formally disciplined by the state that time, Neilson was no longer employed at the Layton hospital and was working for McKay-Dee.