State Can Take a Drop of Inmate’s Blood

     HARTFORD (CN) – A state judge on Friday granted Connecticut’s request to take a drop of blood from a hepatitis C-infected inmate, whose blood may have contaminated an insulin vial due to a nurse’s error, possibly affecting up to 82 other prisoners.
     Defendant John Doe is an “insulin-dependent diabetic” who has hepatitis C, Corrections Commissioner John Dzurenda said in his Superior Court complaint. “It is not known whether he has been exposed to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).”
     Superior Court Judge Antonio Robaina granted the state’s request on Friday.
     On May 27, Dzurenda said in the complaint, a nurse “made a mistake. She first injected the defendant with a needle, forgetting that she had not put in the necessary insulin, then used the same needle to retrieve insulin from the vial, then gave the defendant the proper amount of insulin. The defendant has did not suffer any harm or risk of harm from this action.
     “The insulin vial, however, was then used to provide insulin to other insulin­ dependent inmates. It is not clear which other inmates received insulin from that vial, but as many as 82 inmates are potentially recipients of contaminated insulin, potentially exposing them to hepatitis C and any other infectious diseases the defendant has or may have, including HIV.”
     Stating that “every hour counts,” Dzurenda said the prison seeks a drop of Doe’s blood for diagnostic purposes.
     “In the experience of medical doctors responsible for the care of inmates, it is not uncommon for inmates infected with Hepatitis C to also have exposure to HIV,” the complaint states.
     “This testing is needed for diagnostic purposes, to determine the need for treatment or medical care, including prophylactic treatment of HIV for the defendant as well as for the other 82 inmates potentially exposed.”
     But Doe didn’t want to do it.
     “The defendant’s stated reasons for refusing the test are his general dislike of the criminal justice system and UCONN Health Center, and nothing to do with the specifics of the test,” the commissioner said.

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