“As the health commissioner for Westchester County, I strongly encourage any of Dr. Timothy Morley’s patients who have received an intravenous infusion, injection or a blood draw to contact their health care provider to get tested for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV. I also want Dr. Morley’s patients to know that the Westchester County Department of Health stands ready to assist them by providing these tests at no cost at county facilities.” – Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD.
The New York State Department of Health, Monday, advised patients of Dr. Timothy Morley who received an intravenous infusion, injection or a blood draw at Tomorrow Medicine locations at 1133 Westchester Ave., White Plains or 37 Moore Avenue No. 3, Mount Kisco, or at a previous medical practice known as Advanced Medicine of Mount Kisco, to get tested for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV. Dr. Morley’s patients may come from surrounding counties and states, and NYSDOH is sharing this information with public health officials in all 50 states.
The Westchester County Department of Health has been working closely with the New York State Department of Health to investigate after four individuals connected with Dr. Morley tested positive for hepatitis C virus.
To arrange for testing through Westchester County, Dr. Morley’s patients should call the Westchester County Department of Health at 914-995-7499, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
This investigation began when the Westchester County Department of Health was notified about the first of these four Hepatitis C positive results, through an electronic lab report. That same day, as is routine, WCDH sent a letter to the doctor who had ordered the Hepatitis C test notifying him of his patient’s positive result and requesting further information about any risk factors, vaccine history and reasons for testing. In this case, that doctor was Dr. Morley, a doctor of osteopathy, with offices in White Plains and Mount Kisco.
The county health department made site visits together with the New York State Department of Health to Dr. Morley’s offices and subsequently learned that three other patients of Dr. Morley’s had tested positive for Hepatitis C. Of the four, three are Westchester County residents and one is from Dutchess County. These individuals had no other obvious risk factors other than IV therapy and/or blood draws at Dr. Morley’s office and did not have any symptoms.
NYSDOH and the Westchester County Department of Health arranged to have blood from all four patients tested at Wadsworth Center, NYS’s public health laboratory. Test results were made available on Friday. As indicated on the NYSDOH news release, molecular testing at the state lab determined the strain of Hepatitis C in all four patients was identical, suggesting transmission likely occurred at the practice.
NYS Commissioner of Health, Dr. Howard Zucker, ordered Dr. Morley, to immediately stop practicing medicine, pending a formal hearing, due to charges of violating the state Public Health and Education Law and failing to produce relevant records as part of a state and local investigation.
Dr. Morley’s medical license was suspended following the discovery of a series of inappropriate infection control practices and concerns regarding the preservation, preparation, handling and administration of medication. The order to immediately cease operation – prior to a hearing – was issued out of concern that further lapses in infection control practices could put additional patients at risk. Dr. Morley also failed to produce relevant records or information requested by state and local health departments, within one day, as required under Public Health and Education Law. A hearing before the State Board for Professional Medical Conduct is scheduled for September 19, 2017.
Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by HBV, which is found in the blood of people who have the disease. HBV is spread when blood, semen, or other body fluid infected with HBV enters the body of a person who is not infected. Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by the HCV. Individuals who inject drugs are at highest risk for infection. HCV infects about 25,000 people each year with most developing chronic infection. Many of those with chronic HCV do not know they are infected. Those individuals with chronic infection are at risk for developing chronic liver diseases such as cirrhosis and cancer of the liver. Treatment is available for both hepatitis B and C.
HIV weakens a person’s immune system by destroying important cells that fight disease and infection. No effective cure exists for HIV. But with proper medical care, HIV can be controlled. Some groups of people are more likely to get HIV than others because of many factors, including their sex partners, their risk behaviors, and where they live.