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Former Waynesboro resident claims he got hepatitis through reused needles in 2008

Franklin County prison records indicate Robert Eyler might have had the blood-borne infection in 2005

February 21, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com
  • A copy of a letter sent out recently by Urology Associates of Chambersburg to patients who underwent prostate biopsies informing them of needles being reused in the procedure.
A copy of a letter sent out recently by Urology Associates of Chambersburg to patients who underwent prostate biopsies informing them of needles being reused in the procedure.

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — A judge will make several key decisions in the coming weeks in a man’s lawsuit against Urology Associates of Chambersburg, which told patients last year it had reused prostate biopsy needles.

Franklin County (Pa.) Court of Common Pleas Judge Richard Walsh heard arguments Tuesday from the practice’s attorney and an attorney hired by Robert Eyler, formerly of Waynesboro, Pa.

Eyler claims in the lawsuit that he learned he had contracted hepatitis C only after a November 2008 biopsy.

However, records from the former Franklin County Prison (now Franklin County Jail) indicate Eyler might have had the blood-borne infection in 2005, when he was an inmate.

Philadelphia-based defense attorney Elaine M. Ross told Walsh she informed her client in January she wanted to withdraw herself from the case after having difficulty contacting him for several weeks. She asked Eyler if he intended to hire another attorney, and Eyler said he didn’t know.

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“He said, ‘I’m angry about this (prison report). These are all lies,’” Ross told the judge.

Eyler did not appear in court.

Michael Badowski, Urology Associates’ attorney, requested sanctions against Ross and dismissal of the lawsuit. He claimed Ross’ firm, the Beasley Firm, did not do its due diligence when filing a lawsuit on Eyler’s behalf, saying the firm took on an “unreasonable complaint that has proven to be fraudulent.”

Eyler’s lawsuit is one of three of its type filed after the practice revealed reuse of needles labeled for single-use only.

“There are no merits to these cases,” Badowski said in court Tuesday.

Neither Badowski nor Ross would comment further on the proceedings after court adjourned.

Ross told the judge she filed a writ of summons, without having seen medical records, in the summer of 2011 because she feared the statute of limitations was expiring. She said she started having difficulties reaching her client that December when she had questions about the prison records and other documents.

Meanwhile, she said Badowski was telling her he wanted the lawsuit dismissed.

“I said, ‘I don’t think I can get this case dismissed without (having) approval by my client.’ ... There’s not bad faith in here at all,” Ross said.

She said she does not want to put her firm at risk for legal malpractice by making decisions without her client.

“It doesn’t sound to me like (Eyler) is as interested in the case as you are,” Walsh said.

Walsh is expected to issue an order in the coming weeks.

In addition to being sued by two other men who say they contracted hepatitis C from reused needles, the practice also faces legal proceedings involving one of its former urologists. Dr. William Haren was employed by the practice from 1988 to 2011.

Haren has asked a judge to ease post-employment restrictions in his contract, so he can practice in Adams County, Pa. He also sued the practice, claiming it owes him $251,208 in stock, pension and bonuses.

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