Anaesthetist jailed for infecting patients with hepatitis C | 7 Mar 2013
7 March 2013 Updated 24 minutes ago
A former drug-addicted anaesthetist who infected 55 patients with hepatitis C has been sentenced to 14 years in prison.
James Peters, 63, pleaded guilty to negligently causing injury to 55 women who attended a Croydon abortion clinic between June 2008 and November 2009.
The judge said Peters was professionally disgraced, deregistered and socially isolated because of his hopeless addiction to narcotics, which could be traced back 18 years.
The court heard Peters would inject himself with the drug Fentanyl before using the same syringe to administer the drug on his patients.
The judge said criticism of the Medical Practioners Board for allowing Peters to practice and not testing him for his drug of choice was justified.
Outside court, lawyer Julie Clayton spoke on behalf of victims who are now taking civil action against Peters, the Medical Practioners Board and the clinic.
“Today has bought some welcome degree of closure knowing Peters is in jail and won’t be released for a long time,” she said.
“For others, the sentence doesn’t bring comfort as they are left with some unanswered questions – how could this be allowed to happen in Victoria in the 21st century?”
Peters will serve a minimum of 10 years before being eligible for parole.