Hospital to Patients: We Maybe Exposed You to HIV
Bad instructions on insulin pen lead to warning letter
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 12, 2014 9:16 AM CDT

(Newser) – More than 4,000 people on Long Island are getting the most unwelcome kind of letter from a local hospital—a warning that they might have been inadvertently exposed to HIV. As ABC News explains, the risk is low, but it stems from improper use of an insulin pen. It seems a nurse at South Nassau Communities Hospital was overheard saying, incorrectly, that it was OK to reuse the pen on multiple patients, reports Newsday via NBC News.

"Once that was said, we then followed through with a report to the state Department of Health," says a spokesperson. The hospital is urging all those who might have been exposed to get tested for HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. In the meantime, the hospital is ditching the pens—which can indeed be used multiple times provided it's the same patient—in favor of single-use insulin vials.

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Showing 3 of 13 comments
Mar 12, 2014 3:08 PM CDT
Not content with iatrogenic infections from the OR and the wards, they're now skipping the uncertainty of airborne transmission by injecting you directly. Very efficient ...
Mar 12, 2014 1:30 PM CDT
Those pens have needles that are changed every time they are used, even for the same person. It really sounds much worse than it really is.
Mar 12, 2014 1:06 PM CDT
So, one nurse said something that was misunderstood, but no one was actually exposed? or did they actually reuse the same pen on multiple patients?