Long Island hospital may have exposed 4,000 patients to disease

Wednesday March 19, 2014

Every so often, patients in Connecticut turn to hospitals and surgical facilities for treatment locally and around the area. Unfortunately, the quality of care provided at one hospital can be drastically different from what is provided at another hospital. If a hospital makes an error, it can result in serious injuries, or even death, for the patient.

CBS New York reported that a hospital in Long Island has sent out over 4,000 letters to patients advising them to undergo testing for HIV and Hepatitis which they may have been exposed to due to a hospital gaffe. This hospital may be faced with medical malpractice lawsuits in the near future.

Officials said that the letters explained that patients may have been given insulin from an insulin pen repository, not from a single-use disposable needle, that could have been used on more than one patient. The hospital created a hotline, 516-208-0029, for patients to arrange a blood test.

A hospital spokesperson said a nurse was overheard saying it was acceptable to reuse the insulin pen reservoir, but no one actually saw someone in the act of doing so. The hospital spokesperson said that the risk of infection was very low, but encouraged people to be tested just to be extra cautious and remain vigilant.

In addition, it was announced that the hospital put a policy into effect that prohibits use of the insulin pens and now only allows hospital staff to treat patients with singe-use vials when they are giving insulin to patients.

Hospitals must adhere to certain policies and procedures in order to ensure the health and safety of their patients. When patients are injured due to negligence, hospitals may be liable for the injuries they cause.

Source:  CBS News, “Hospital warns 4,000 patients of possible HIV, hepatitis exposure” No author given, Mar. 13, 2014

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