A nurse in a Cherokee Nation hospital reused a syringe that caused more than 180 patients to be tested for HIV and hepatitis. The allegations that the nurse reused the syringe haven't been verified but the hospital is taking the necessary steps to make sure that everyone is okay.
The nurse didn't adhere to protocols when she carried out the procedure with the same syringe.
Checking For HIV And Hepatitis
The nurse's actions caused 186 patients to be checked for HIV and hepatitis. The nurse used the same syringe to inject more than one intravenous bag. This occurred at W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah, Cherokee. After using the same syringe, the nurse didn't work for the hospital anymore.
Officials from the hospital say that the chance that patients' bloodborne pathogens made their way into the IV bag or tubing is very low. They said that patients didn't come into direct contact with needles that were used during the procedures. Officials are recommending that patients who received an intravenous bag in the hospital between January and April to return and get screened for HIV and hepatitis.
As of June 14, 117 of the patients returned for blood tests. None of the patients tested positive for HIV or hepatitis. Officials at the hospital were still trying to reach out to two patients to tell them that they need to be tested just in case.
A study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information showed that the risk of transmitting a disease by reusing syringes in IV bags was very low. They found that the risk of transmitting hepatitis-B was less than 53 in 1 million, for hepatitis-C, it is 4.3 in 1 million, and for HIV it was 0.15 in 1 million.
This isn't the first time that a nurse has reused a syringe with patients. In 2015, a nurse in New Jersey reused a syringe to administer flu shots. Almost 70 patients had to be tested for HIV and hepatitis due to the mistake. During this case, patients were also retested four to six months after the first test to determine whether or not they were infected.
Earlier in 2018, a nurse in a dermatology clinic in St. Paul, Minnesota reused a syringe but not a needle. Calls had to be made to 161 patients letting them know that they had to be tested for HIV and hepatitis even though the risk of infection was extremely low.
In all three cases, nurses failed to follow recommendations made by the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The recommendations say that hospitals should avoid reusing needles and syringes. It says that if the needle or syringe is reused on a patient, they should be notified and informed to be tested.