Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Thursday, October 21, 1999 Published at 17:47 GMT 18:47 UK


Doctor suspected of infecting patient

The infection may have been passed on during surgery

A hospital in Lincolnshire is carrying out an urgent investigation after a patient was found to be suffering from the dangerous hepatitis C virus.

Hospital authorities suspect the woman may have been infected by a doctor at the Pilgrim Hospital in Boston who has also been confirmed as suffering from the disease.

The doctor is believed to have also worked at hospitals in Torbay, Exeter and Southampton before moving to Lincolnshire.

Tests are being carried out to try to determine whether the two cases are linked.

Hepatitis C is an extremely infectious disease that attacks the liver.

The hospital will set up a telephone helpline if a link between the two cases is positively confirmed. The results of the tests will be known next week.

The risk of a doctor passing on hepatitis C to patient during surgery is thought to be very slight.

Sexual contact

The hepatitis C virus is usually transmitted in infected blood but it is also thought to be passed in bodily fluids during sexual contact.

Once someone has been exposed to the hepatitis C virus, it usually takes one to three weeks before the virus is detected in their blood.

Many patients with hepatitis C infection have no symptoms.

However, up to a third develop symptoms of acute hepatitis C infection, including:

  • Feeling sick
  • Weakness
  • Poor appetite
  • Jaundice - a yellowish tint to the skin and whites of the eyes that is caused by a build up of liver chemicals in the blood.

If hepatitis C is not cleared from the immune system with six months, it can cause chronic liver damage, which can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Health Contents

Background Briefings
Medical notes

Relevant Stories

12 Oct 99 | Health
Virus breakthrough offers hepatitis C hope

06 Aug 99 | Health
Ministers in new haemophilia probe

29 Jul 99 | Health
Hepatitis C tests win approval

Internet Links

Hepatitis C information

Hepatitis C Forum

British Liver Trust

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Disability in depth

Spotlight: Bristol inquiry

Antibiotics: A fading wonder

Mental health: An overview

Alternative medicine: A growth industry

The meningitis files

Long-term care: A special report

Aids up close

From cradle to grave

NHS reforms: A guide

NHS Performance 1999

From Special Report
NHS in crisis: Special report

British Medical Association conference '99

Royal College of Nursing conference '99