New Jersey Surgery Center May Have Exposed 3,778 Patients To HIV And Hepatitis


A surgery center in Bergen County, New Jersey, has bad news for some of its patients this holiday. The facility may have exposed more than 3,000 people who had procedures there between January and September to potentially deadly blood-borne infections.

Nearly 4,000 Patients Possibly Exposed To Blood-Borne Infections

The HealthPlus Surgery Center in Saddle Brook notified 3,778 patients that they may have been exposed to various infections, which include the life-threatening HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.

No illness has been reported, but the letter, which was sent out to the patients this month, urged patients to get tested regardless if they do not remember feeling seek. It added that all medical costs associated with testing for various infections will be covered.

Most of the patients who were possibly exposed to blood-borne pathogens are from New Jersey and New York.

Lapses In Infection Control

HealthPlus likewise acknowledged that the incident is due to lapses in infection control.

The health department said that the exposure risk was identified as part of a probe into infection control breaches at the facility.

On Sept. 7, the New Jersey Department of Health closed HealthPlus because the facility's staff were not following proper sterile processing procedures. They also failed to comply with some regulations on the dispensing and storage of medication, as well as infection control planning and procedures.

HealthPlus reopened on Sept. 28 after taking steps to address these problems. The facility hired new staff, improved infection control and medicine dispensing procedures, hired new sterile processing staff, and cleaned and repaired all instruments.

"We have taken this issue very seriously," HealthPlus Surgery Center Administrator Betty McCabe said in a statement. "The New Jersey Department of Health's move to close the facility provided an opportunity to focus more intently on quality, safety and a consistent adherence to sound policies and procedures. As a result, we have made significant improvements to ensure our patients' safety and good health."

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