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.

  (Shutterstock)
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