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U.S. News

New York: 716 Patients at VA May Have Been Exposed to HIV

January 14, 2013

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has informed local lawmakers and members of Congress that 716 patients at the Buffalo VA Medical Center may have been exposed to HIV, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C because of the inadvertent reuse of insulin pens that were intended for one-time use. The VA says that 570 of those patients are still alive. The possible reuse of the insulin pens happened between October 19, 2010, and November 1, 2012, according to the VA memo sent on January 11. The memo states that health officials discovered the problem during a routine pharmacy inspection last November 1 when they found insulin pens without patient labels attached to them in supply carts, thus revealing the possible reuse of the insulin pens. Hospital spokeswoman Evangeline Conley explained that once officials detected the problem, the hospital immediately took action to ensure that the insulin pens were used according to pharmaceutical guidelines, that the insulin pens were labeled, and that the hospital changed its procedure to prevent the reuse of insulin pens.

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