Texas: Army Hospital Contacts Hundreds in Insulin Scare
February 9, 2009
A spokesperson for the William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso said that by midday Friday, officials had contacted nearly 300 patients who may have been exposed to blood-borne infections such as hepatitis and HIV after receiving improper insulin injections at the hospital. WBAMC announced as many as 2,114 diabetics treated at the facility since August 2007 could be at risk. Hospital officials said Thursday insulin pens -- which are designed to allow a single patient to use several times -- were inadvertently used multiple times on different patients. Though a sterile needle was used for every injection, officials said the pens contain a reservoir of insulin that allows for multiple use and blood could be transferred from the needle to the remaining insulin. It will take three weeks to determine if any of the patients were infected by the flawed injection practice, which has now been corrected. Army officials maintain the likelihood of infection is low, citing a study that found blood flowed from a needle back into the insulin reservoir in just 4 percent of cases.
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.