8,500 More Patients of Dr. Harvey Finkelstein are Advised to Get Tested as Tests Find Additional Hepatitis Cases Among His Patients

Approximately 8,500 additional patients of Dr. Harvey Finkelstein will be advised to get tested for blood-borne diseases as a probe into his practice expands, a New York State Health Department spokeswoman said. Meanwhile, the Nassau County Health Department has said recent tests found six hepatitis B cases and six hepatitis C cases among Finkelstein’s patients, although it is unclear whether the liver infections stemmed from Finkelstein’s improper re-use of syringes.

Initially this past November, 628 patients of Dr. Finkelstein were advised to get tested for hepatitis B and C and HIV, all blood borne diseases, because they had received epidural injections from Dr. Finkelstein, who used re-used syringes, from January 1, 2000 to January 15, 200. But as time goes on, the Department of Health continues to receive calls from people who state that they were patients of Dr. Finkelstein and received injections from him but did not receive letters to get tested. Just last week an additional 1,200 people were notified and advised to get tested.

The Health Department attributes the incompleteness of its initial roster of Dr. Finkelstein’s patients to factors including his having a billing system that his newer employees are not familiar with and to the doctor having some of his patient’s records in his home. At this point, the Department of Health does not know which of Dr. Finkelstein’s newly discovered patients received injections from him.

Thus the Department is contacting all of his known patients and relying upon them to know if the did not receive injections and thereby exempt themselves from the need to get tested. The Department is reportedly trying to decide whether to contact the additional patients now, or wait until after Christmas and New Years Day.

As of the time of this posting, there does not appear to be word of the outcome of the hearing that was scheduled to take place yesterday by the Health Department’s Office of Professional Medical Conduct regarding Dr. Martin Ehrenberg, who allegedly performed unnecessary laser eye surgeries on six patients, and faces 32 charges of medical misconduct, including gross negligence. The Health Department suspended Dr. Ehrenberg’s license last week, citing an “imminent danger” to public health.

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