More than 4,000 patients of South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside are receiving a letter about the risk of hepatitis and HIV infection as a result of being treated for diabetes with the use of an insulin pen.
Patients may have received insulin injections from a pen reservoir that was used by more than one patient. The pens used were not the single-use needles, but rather ones that contained multiple insulin doses with a disposable needle.
While the hospital confirms the disposable needles were changed out with each new patient, the pen may have not. The danger lies in that the chamber containing the insulin may be contaminated if there is a back flow of blood.
A statement provided by a hospital spokesman indicates “the risk of infection from this is extremely low, nonetheless, out of an abundance of caution, the hospital is recommending that patients receiving the notification be tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.”
To prevent such an incident from happening again, a hospital-wide policy is in place to only use single-use vials for insulin treatment.
Patients who received the letter recommending testing are asked to schedule testing within 60 days by calling (516) 208-0029. Blood testing services will be provided to these patients for free.
[Source: CBS New York]