MOUNDSVILLE – Four more lawsuits were filed against the physician over Valley Pain Management Clinic for allowing patients to be exposed to Hepatitis C and other blood-borne pathogens.

Dr. Roland F. Chalifoux Jr. and Roland F. Chalifoux Jr. DO PLLC were both named as defendants in the suit.

Gregory Wise and Teresa Wise; Randal Scott and Sheila Scott; Steven Wade; and Adam Barnes filed the lawsuits in Marshall Circuit Court after they were exposed to Hepatitis C.

The plaintiffs claim Chalifoux performed an epidural with an epidurogram on Melissa Schmidt on Oct. 22, 2013, and within 24 hours of receiving the injection, Schmidt presented to Ohio Valley Medical center on Oct. 23, 2013, and was diagnosed and treated for bacterial meningitis.

The West Virginia Department of Health/Bureau for Public Health was notified as a result of Schmidt’s bacterial meningitis after having undergone an epidural steroid injection, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claim the Division of Infectious Disease Epidemiology from the Bureau was notified and an investigation was initiated immediately in collaboration with the Marshall County Health Department and the regional epidemiologist.

Following a site inspection and investigation, the bureau concluded that the evidence linking the single case of meningitis with respiratory flora to infection control practices at Valley Pain Management “is very strong and a significant risk of blood born pathogen transmission cannot be excluded,” according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claim the investigation further concluded that Chalifoux and his clinic were disregarding universal principles of sterile technique.

As a result of the site inspection and investigation, the bureau asked the defendants to provide a list of patients seen at the clinic from Jan. 1, 2010, through Oct. 31, 2013, who had received an injection or procedure performed on them or who had an individual pain pump refilled by Chalifoux at the clinic.

The plaintiffs claim the bureau sought the information so that it could notify patients that they needed to be tested for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, as they were at an increased risk of developing the conditions due to Chalifoux’s failure and/or refusal to implement and utilize proper sterile techniques.

As a result of the defendants’ breach of duty to fully cooperate with the bureau, it published the potential exposure in the public media, which created mass hysteria and extreme shock amongst the defendants’ patients, which, in turn, caused the plaintiffs to suffer from severe stress, anxiety, emotional distress and mental anguish, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. They are being represented by Scott S. Blass, Geoffrey C. Brown and Bryan D. Pasiak of Bordas & Bordas.

There have been at least seven lawsuits previously filed against Chalifoux for the potential exposure to infectious diseases.

Marshall Circuit Court case number: 16-C-133, 16-C-134, 16-C-135, 16-C-137

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