Henry Chanin argued with his wife for two weeks that the couple should sleep in separate beds.
Chanin urged the change after he came home and found her wearing rubber gloves to remove bloodied sheets from their bed. He was undergoing treatment for hepatitis C and one of the myriad side effects was a crusty, bloody rash that ran the length of his torso and stained his clothes and sheets.
Chanin, headmaster of The Meadows School, told the story to a Clark County jury as he tried to explain how "deeply anxious" he felt about infecting his wife and others with the liver disease.
The 62-year-old took the stand Monday as testimony in his civil trial against Teva Parenteral Medicine and Baxter Healthcare Services entered its second week. He and his wife, Lorraine, are suing the companies on several product liability claims.
Henry Chanin was infected with hepatitis C during a June 2006 colonoscopy at the Desert Shadow Endoscopy Center, one of the clinics linked to the outbreak in Southern Nevada.
Public health officials said the outbreak was caused by nurse anesthetists using single-dose medicine vials among patients after the vials had become contaminated by nurses reusing syringes on the same patient.
The lawsuit claims the companies made and sold vials of propofol that were much larger than needed for colonoscopies, which tempted medical workers to reuse vials among patients instead of throwing away unused anesthetic.
Henry Chanin testified he was a teacher and administrator at The Meadows School when he was diagnosed with hepatitis C in July 2006. The first symptoms he noticed were that his skin and eyes had turned yellow. He soon contacted a doctor, who after tests, informed him he had acute hepatitis C.
Chanin said a doctor ordered the colonoscopy after he complained about hemorrhoids during his annual check-up. A blood test taken two days before the procedure was negative for hepatitis C, he told the jury.
Six months after he was first diagnosed, Chanin told the jury, he learned his condition had become chronic, which he learned could lead to liver failure, cancer or cirrhosis.
Chanin, whose voice often cracked with emotion during his testimony, described how for months he suffered through weekly treatments that gave him flu-like symptoms for days afterward .
He also said his personal life was turned upside down by the diagnosis. For fear of infecting his wife, the couple no longer had sexual relations.
Also, Chanin said he no longer had the stamina to play golf with his wife or go on after dinner walks. "I just don't have the ability," he said.
Chanin said he "felt guilty" for not participating in activities with his wife, because he was letting his best friend down.
When he found his wife wearing rubber gloves to change the sheets, he felt it would be safer for her if they slept in separate beds. But Chanin told the jury he should have known after 33 years of marriage that his wife would prevail and the couple would continue to sleep together.
"She said she was little and it was a big bed," Chanin said with a smile.
Chanin went on to testify that the treatment he suffered through has suppressed the disease, though there is a 5 percent chance it could resurface.
Even with the disease suppressed, Chanin said he is still not the same. He said he suffers from joint pain and fatigue.
Every six months he must take a blood test to make sure the disease remained quelled. Those tests remind him of a game of Russian roulette, he said, because he fears the results.
Despite the disease, Chanin said during cross-examination, he has traveled the world with his wife to check items off their "bucket list." He said he has been to Hong Kong, Ireland and Australia since he was first diagnosed.
Earlier in the day, The Meadows School's founder and president, Carolyn Goodman, told a jury that Henry Chanin was a diligent, loyal and energized administrator for the institution.
But his devotion to the school has been hampered as he battled hepatitis C.
In the fall of 2007, Goodman said, she noticed Chanin was having trouble walking, so she acquired a golf cart to help him get around the school's 40-acre campus.
Goodman, the wife of Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, also testified that Chanin is expected to take over as head of school when she retires later this year.
The lawsuit originally named the doctors and nurses who performed Henry Chanin's colonoscopy, but their insurance company settled the medical malpractice claim last month.
Contact reporter Francis McCabe at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-1039.