Calls for fresh murder charge in hepatitis C trial
13 September 2005, VALENCIA — A lawyer for some of the 276 people allegedly infected with hepatitis C by an anaesthetist who used dirty needles has called for him to be charged with a fresh count of murder.
13 September 2005
VALENCIA — A lawyer for some of the 276 people allegedly infected with hepatitis C by an anaesthetist who used dirty needles has called for him to be charged with a fresh count of murder.
Manual Mata, lawyer for some of the alleged victims of Dr Juan Maeso, called for him to be charged with the murder of Vincente Chaves, who died hours before the trial started on Monday in Valencia.
Chaves died of chronic liver conditions produced by hepatitis C.
Though Mata argued the law could allow for charges to be changed during a trial, it was unlikely to take place.
Dr Juan Maeso, 63, who has hepatitis C virus and is said to be a drug addict, is accused of killing three patients and infecting hundreds of others by using dirty needles.
Dr Maeso had allegedly injected himself with drugs used for patients' treatment and then used the same needles for their treatment.
The prosecution at Dr Maeso's trial has called for him to be jailed for more than 2,214 years if he is convicted of three counts of murder and multiple charges of causing injuries.
He will also have to pay compensation to the victims or their relatives of up to EUR 28.2 million if convicted.
The offences are said to have happened at four hospitals in Valencia over a ten-year period between 1988 and 1998.
Dr Maeso has denied infecting patients.
Instead, he said if he had passed on hepatitis C, it would only have been through
first catching the virus from another patient.
"If I have used needles they were those used on patients first – not the other way round," he told the court.
Dr Maeso added that he would never anaesthetise patients on his own and would
always do it with the help of another colleague.
But in apparently confusing testimony, he said he did not know if he had hepatitis C and he said he felt "very good".
Then he went on to admit in 1998 he had undergone a test which found he had the
Dr Maeso said he had not told colleagues because he was still waiting for
more tests to see if it he definitely had the hepatitis C.
Dr Maeso said if he did have the virus, he would tell his colleagues.
The doctor was head of anaesthetics at the Hospital de la Fe in Valencia
until 1998 and also worked as a consultant in the private Hospital Casa de
His defence is expected to say Maeso was the victim of a whispering
campaign based on nothing more than rumours.
The trial is expected to last up to a year and hear from 600 witnesses, some of them Maeso's alleged victims.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news