She went to an emergency department of Davis County in October 2011 with chest pain, worried about pneumonia.
After admission, Karen Samulski received a mixture of analgesics, tranquilizers, and nausea medications.
What Samulski did not know at the time was that her nurse, Elet Neilson, was probably injecting some of the medication before giving the rest to her patients.
Four years passed before Samulski received a letter from Davis Hospital and the Medical Center said the nurse could have expelled her hepatitis C. And in December 201
Samulski went through daily treatments for the infection – which caused her nausea. Her fingers are numb and her body is tired.
Samulski sued Davis Hospital on Thursday, claiming that the hospital had not done enough to protect patients from an employee who stole drugs.
The lawsuit, filed in the 2nd D Strict Court, alleges that hospital officials failed to protect against theft, failed to investigate Neilson's drug theft in a timely manner and failed to properly monitor the nurse. The hospital also failed to duly inform Samulski that she had been exposed to the infection, which risked spreading to others.
Samulski's lawyer G. Eric Nielson said Friday that he believes hospital employees probably knew the nurse stole drugs but never reported it.
"The likelihood that the hospital will not be alerted when a nurse deals with this type of behavior is very low," he said.
The lawyer says they believe Neilson injected himself with doses of painkillers before injecting a patient with the remaining amount into a syringe. In Samulski's case, Neilson's Nursing Chart was changed several times, with evidence that the drug levels were recorded on the wrong patient card, according to court cases.
A spokeswoman for the hospital did not immediately comment on the lawsuit and said she had done it
Samulski asks for an uncovered amount of money damages, including punitive damages
Neilson, also known as Elet Hamblin, is facing federal action because of the outbreak of hepatitis C. She was charged last year with more than a dozen charges for manipulating a consumer good and fraudulently obtaining a controlled substance. A three-day trial is expected in September.
Health officials believe Neilson may have exposed up to 7,200 patients to the hepatitis C genotype 2b strain. Of these patients, approximately 4,800 were treated at Ogdens McKay-Dee Hospital – where Neilson worked from June 2013 to November 2014 – and 2,369 at the Davis Hospital and Medical Center in Layton, where Neilson worked between 2012 and 2014. According to the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing Records, she has admitted to taking drugs from her employer when she was in both hospitals has worked. She gave her care approval in November 2015, a month after health officials had given free tests to the thousands of patients who came in contact with her in hospitals and given certain medications.
At least one other law firm in Utah has plans to sue the hospitals and Neilson for the outbreak. Lawyers from the law firm Feller and Wendt said in 2016 that they wanted 160 clients – seven of them who tested positive for hepatitis C – to seek a class action lawsuit.