SALT LAKE CITY — A federal jury trial has been moved again for a former McKay-Dee Hospital nurse accused of causing a hepatitis C outbreak in 2015.
Elet Neilson, 51, has been charged with a total of 16 charges, consisting of eight counts of tampering with a consumer product and eight counts of fraudulently obtaining a controlled substance.
Neilson is blamed for spreading hepatitis C in McKay-Dee and Davis hospitals, causing the facilities to notify 7,200 former patients of possible exposure to the disease. More than 3,700 people came forward for blood tests, and the Utah Department of Health said 16 positive cases of hepatitis C 2b were identified.
On Monday, Neilson’s attorneys filed a motion to continue the jury trial for the third time, citing that the case is “extremely unusual and complex and requires several medical experts,” according to court filings. Her attorneys also said they were given new discovery documents on May 9 and they needed more time to review the documents.
Judge Dee Benson signed off on the motion on Thursday, and Neilson’s trial dates were moved to Sept. 24-26, 2018, at the U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City.
Neilson pleaded not guilty to all charges on Aug. 16, 2017, at the federal courthouse.
Her jury trial was first scheduled to start Oct. 23, 2017 but was continued to February before being moved again to May. Benson’s approval marks the third time the trial has been rescheduled.
If convicted of all 16 counts, Neilson faces a maximum of 96 years in prison. However, if Neilson is found guilty of all eight charges of tampering with a consumer product and found to cause serious bodily injury in each charge, her sentence will increase to a maximum of 176 years in prison.
Neilson was issued a summons for her initial appearance in federal court. She is not being held in jail.