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Nurse could be tested for AIDS virus today

Former Citrus Memorial Hospital nurse Bruce Alan Young is expected to be tested today for the virus that causes AIDS, pending his signature on a special contract drawn up by his attorney and state prosecutors.

Young, 45, had been scheduled for AIDS testing more than a week ago. The test was postponed when the public defender's office abruptly withdrew from representing Young because of a possible conflict of interest.

According to Assistant State Attorney Bob Hodges, the contract that Young will be asked to sign today would give authorities permission to release Young's AIDS test results to all of his possible victims.

"Potential victims would include all the women who have gone to the Inverness Police Department and made a report and all women who can verify that Mr. Young was their nurse," Hodges said.

Close to 100 women have expressed fears that they were sexually assaulted by Young while they were under anesthesia at Citrus Memorial Hospital between 1990 and 1994.

Hodges did not know how soon the AIDS results could be expected, however a spokeswoman at the Citrus County Health Department said the results are normally available in seven to 10 days.

Young is charged with raping five semi-conscious women shortly after they left surgery. As a registered nurse, Young was responsible for helping the women as they came out of anesthesia. Instead, police say, he often gave them more drugs so they would be unconscious while he attacked them.

On Oct. 3, another nurse walked in on Young as he lay atop a sedated 15-year-old on a hospital gurney. Police said that Young has admitted to them that he attacked the teen and a 23-year-old female patient on Aug. 19.

Today, authorities also will draw blood and other body samples from Young to be used as evidence in the case of the 15-year-old girl.

Young has agreed to do far more than legally necessary.

Under Florida law, anyone charged with committing a sex offense that involves the transmission of body fluids from one person to another must, upon the victim's request and the court's order, undergo HIV testing.

Young faces five rape charges but only in one case, that of the 15-year-old girl, is he accused of having intercourse with the victim. In the other four cases, prosecutors say he used his finger or another object to assault the victims.

Beyond that, state law says only Young, the applicable victims and possibly the Citrus County Public Health Unit must be notified of the test results. By agreeing to notify women who only fear they were assaulted, Young has waived large portions of the confidentiality provisions designed to protect him.

"The Legislature finds that a victim of a sexual offense is entitled to know at the earliest possible opportunity whether the person charged with the offense has tested positive for" HIV, the law reads.

On other fronts, state health investigators today are expected to wrap up their second round of inquiries into Citrus Memorial, a spokeswoman said.

After its first look, the Agency for Health Care Administration's two-member team found that the hospital appeared to be following state law concerning the recording, tracking and addressing of complaints, spokeswoman Nina Bottcher said.

The same team now is checking to see whether Citrus Memorial complied with their procedure regarding the recent complaints made by female patients in the cases involving Young and former X-ray technician Bruce MacFarlane.

Bottcher said the investigators will report back to the Health Care Financing Administration in Atlanta, a federal group that oversees distribution of Medicare and Medicaid dollars.

Also today, Young is scheduled to meet with his attorney William Lackay to further discuss the case. Lackay said he is studying the information sheets, the documents on which the state lists its accusations, to see whether they spell out all the elements of the crime.

Lackay further said that, for now, he won't seek a gag order that would have severely limited what investigators, lawyers, victims and witnesses could have said about the case. He considered making the request because statements reported in the media might taint potential jurors and perhaps jeopardize Young's right to a fair trial.

"It (the media situation) seems to have calmed down a little," Lackay said. "At this point in time I'm going to hold off."