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Flu Shot Lawsuit Against Total Wellness

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Kathleen O'Brien | NJ Advance Media for NJ.comBy Kathleen O’Brien | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com 

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on April 05, 2016 at 1:20 PM, updated April 05, 2016 at 2:08 PM
A man who received one of the 67 flu vaccinations administered at a company wellness clinic by a nurse who used just two syringes has sued the nurse and her employer for emotional distress.

It is the first lawsuit to stem from the clinic last October that was aborted when an employee noticed the breach of vaccine protocol.

The nurse, Mary Roback, of Ewing, was hired online by TotalWellness, a Nebraska company that runs onsite flu clinics and biometric screenings for companies. Both are named in the lawsuit filed in Mercer County by Michael and Laurie Bellero, of Robbinsville.

The flu clinic held last September for employees of Otsuka America Pharmaceutical in its West Windsor facility was stopped abruptly after one of the shot recipients noticed Roback was reusing a syringe.

She has said in an interview that when she arrived for the clinic, she discovered TotalWellness had sent her the wrong supplies – just two syringes that were the wrong type for vaccines.  She decided to proceed with the clinic anyway, switching needles and sterilizing the syringe for each patient.

However, that impromptu technique meant there was a slight possibility that blood from one person could be injected into the next person. For that reason, the N.J. Department of Health organized free tests for HIV, along with hepatitis C and B.

In addition, the 67 employees were also offered vaccination against hepatitis B, and because Roback incorrectly estimated the amount of vaccine for each shot, a second flu shot.

Neither Roback or TotalWellness responded immediately to a request for comment.

Here's why nurse said she reused flu clinic syringes

Here’s why nurse said she reused flu clinic syringes

The nurse who surrendered her license after mishandling a flu clinic blames herself – but also the company that sent her the wrong supplies.

An investigation by the N. J. Board of Nursing resulted in Roback voluntarily surrendering her LPN license.

Andrew D’Arcy, the Egg Harbor Township attorney retained by the Belleros, said his client would have no comment. Micheal Belleros is director of regulatory technology for Otsuka, according to the suit.

The civil suit requests punitive damages to compensate for the emotional distress of waiting out the six-month window when any blood-borne disease might appear.

Kathleen O’Brien may be reached at kobrien@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @OBrienLedger. Find NJ.com on Facebook.