Man Spits on Alaska Hospital Worker, Initially Charged with Attempted Murder

(AP Graphic)
Alaska Man Spits on Hospital Worker, Charged with Attempted Murder
(AP Graphic)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (CBS/AP) Alaska authorities filed attempted murder charges Tuesday against a 29-year-old man with hepatitis C after he allegedly spit on a hospital worker.

Andre LaFrance, of Wasilla, was admitted to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center Monday after claiming he had overdosed on drugs. Once medical personnel concluded that he had not overdosed, LaFrance appeared "very, very unstable," and was placed on suicide watch, according to Corrections Sgt. Walter Erickson.

Police said as the staff was attempting to restrain LaFrance, he "intentionally transferred a dangerous bodily fluid" onto one of the woman workers, assuming it would make her sick, reports the New York Daily News.

The charge of attempted second-degree murder was later reduced in court to felony and misdemeanor assault, and LaFrance was also charged with harassment, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

Hepatitis C is an infectious disease that can cause liver damage, and which is usually transmitted through blood-to-blood contact.  According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the virus is most often spread through intravenous drug use, though medical personnel sometimes contract it through accidental needle sticks. The CDC doesn't consider saliva a major risk factor in spreading the disease, reports the Alaska newspaper.

Due to his illness authorities have been very cautious when dealing with LaFrance, placing a spit-hood on him if necessary, said Sgt. Erickson.

LaFrance is "not a first-timer to the system," said Erickson regarding LaFrance's lengthy criminal history in Alaska.

Bail for LaFrance was initially set at $50,000, but has since been reduced to $2,500.

The hospital had no comment on the incident.