Lab worker accused of reusing needles receives one-year sentence

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com August 19 2002 11:00 PM ET

A former worker at SmithKline Beecham's medical lab in Palo Alto, Calif., was sentenced to one year in prison for reusing disposable needles to draw blood from patients and then falsifying medical records to cover up the practice, The [San Jose] Mercury News reports. Elaine Giorgi pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of falsifying medical records and a felony charge of illegally disposing of medical waste. Two assault counts were dropped. It's uncertain whether any patients who used the lab's services were infected with HIV or other blood-borne illnesses by the reused needles. Some former patients have tested positive for hepatitis, but it is unclear whether they were infected before having their blood drawn at the lab. Two civil suits against Giorgi are still pending, as are four lawsuits against SmithKline Beecham.