Ms. Weberg, 31, has been accused of infecting at least two patients at the Puyallup hospital with hepatitis C, including a man who tested positive for the virus and has filed a lawsuit against the hospital.
However, the Washington State Department of Health has suspended her license, meaning Weberg can not work as a registered nurse anywhere until the charges against her are resolved.
Hospital officials said during an investigation Ms. Weberg had "admitted" to stealing injectable drugs and had tested positive for hepatitis C. However, Ms. Weberg's lawyer claimed the woman was scapegoated by the hospital after officials learned of the possible infections. Washington'sNews Tribune also reported that Weberg could face charges of second-degree assault for these crimes.
Regarding hepatitis C, Weberg said she has undergone drug tests and donated blood but has never been diagnosed with the disease, according to KOMO News. She added that she's been told by practitioners that a percentage of the population can carry the same pathogen and not be considered carriers of Hepatitis C.
Weberg's attorney, Bryan Hershman, could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday but told the News Tribune that his client has denied accusations that she infected the patients.
Hospital leaders announced the infection of the two patients Monday, coupled with a public safety alert and a recommendation that 2,600 patients who might have interacted with Weberg from August 4, 2017, through March 23 of this year should seek testing and treatment.
Weberg was arrested as she attempted to cross into Canada, booked into Pierce County Jail, but later released. The affected patients will be checked for Hepatitis B, C, and HIV, according to KCPQ.
Weberg was arrested at the Canadian border as she was embarking on a planned vacation to Guam with her boyfriend, police said.
Defense attorney Hershmann is similarly unconvinced: "On the one hand, my heart goes out to these infected people".
"In fact, as of this very moment, I do not believe that I am a contagious carrier of Hepatitis C", said Weberg. "On the other hand, this investigation has been going on for months". Weberg is reportedly the only nurse at the hospital who treated both of these patients. I hope we all stand back and take a deep breath and really look at what the evidence says.
According to MultiCare, hepatitis C affects the liver when the virus enters a person's system, usually through exposure to an infected person's blood. She was allegedly unaware that she had Hepatitis C while working at the hospital.
The hospital stresses that 70 percent of people with Hepatitis C - a liver infection - do not show symptoms, but leaving it untreated can result in serious long-term health problems.
The statement further said that a complete genetic sequence testing of the blood samples from the infected patients revealed they had contracted hepatitis C from the same source.
The state nursing commission suspended Weberg's license claiming she failed to disclose she was a carrier for the disease.
Good Samaritan Hospital said it had sent 2,600 letter to patients who may have been exposed to Hepatitis C over an eight-month period.
"Because of this, we violated the trust we have with our community."
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