Tuesday, March 4, 2008

What were they thinking?

By now I'm sure you've heard about the clinic in Nevada exposing patients to Hep C and possibly HIV by reusing syringes and vials. Here is a follow-up story on ABC's Good Morning America which implies that this may not be an isolated case...

An outbreak of hepatitis C at a Nevada clinic may represent "the tip of an iceberg" of safety problems at clinics around the country, according to the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The city of Las Vegas shut down the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada last Friday after state health officials determined that six patients had contracted hepatitis C because of unsafe practices including clinic staff reusing syringes and vials. Nevada health officials are trying to contact about 40,000 patients who received anesthesia by injection at the clinic between March 2004 and Jan. 11 to urge them to get tested for hepatitis C, hepatitis B and HIV.

The article quotes Dr. Julie Gerberding, head of the CDC...

"This is the largest number of patients that have ever been contacted for a blood exposure in a health-care setting. But unfortunately we have seen other large-scale situations where similar practices have led to patient exposures."

I can't believe this happened at even one clinic, let along is going on elsewhere. Furthermore, I can't help wondering if this is just a case of the news media attempting to milk this story for all it's worth.

In any event, this should never happen in a contemporary health care facility.

Reference: CDC Warns of Safety Problems at Clinics

1 comment:

Tiny Shrink said...

That reminds me of when I was in China. We visited an ID hospital that specialized in HIV/AIDS. Most of their patients were from one particularly hard-hit province. The doctors told us that our first patient, as well as many others, had contracted HIV during a blood donation. NOT a blood transfusion, but a plasma donation. Apparently the machinery wasn't clean, so when the RBC's were returned to the patient after sucking out the plasma, multiple patients were infected with HIV. This was about 10 years ago or so, so many of these patients now have AIDS, and this is the first they've heard about it.