Another western New York hospital is notifying patients that they may have been exposed to HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C through sharing insulin pens.
Olean General Hospital mailed 1,915 letters to patients who received insulin at the hospital from November 2009 through last week. They advised the patients to call and arrange for blood testing, however, the risk that they were infected is very low according to hospital officials.
According to the Huffington Post:
Hospital officials said the action follows an internal review conducted after the Veterans Affairs hospital in Buffalo discovered more than 700 patients may have been exposed to blood-borne pathogens over a two-year period when multi-use pens intended for use by a single patient may have been used on more than one person.
“Interviews with nursing staff indicated that the practice of using one patient’s insulin pen for other patients may have occurred on some patients,” said Timothy Finan, president and chief executive of Upper Allegheny Health System, the parent company of the Olean hospital.
Similar to the case in Buffalo, NY., the needles were changed with each use of the pens, but the risk of infection remains because stored insulin in the pen cartridge could have become contaminated by a back flow of blood use.
Federal health agencies have been warning against sharing insulin pens for many years.
Guess western New York didn’t get the message! Should hospitals be charged for medical malpractice?
SOURCE: Huffington Post