Wisconsin Health Clinic Warns 2,345 Patients of Possible Hepatitis/HIV Exposure

August 30, 2011

According to Reuters, a Wisconsin health clinic has notified 2,345 patients that they may have been exposed to blood-borne diseases such as Hepatitis or HIV.  The news is based on a telephone interview of Wisconsin’s Dane County Chief Executive, Dr. Craig Samitt.

According to the Reuters article, a registered nurse at the clinic who was certified in diabetic education saw patients at various clinic locations from the time period of 2006 to 2011.  The nurse was certified to demonstrate insulin injections using an insulin pen and a finger stick device for testing blood sugar levels.  As stated by Dr. Samitt, after demonstrating the devices on the patients, the needles were changed.  However, according to Dr. Samitt, it is possible that “blood could have adhered to the insulin pens or finger-stick devices.”  He stated further, “the insulin pens in question were intended to be used for demonstrations on objects, such as oranges, but not for use on live patients.”

The Wisconsin based Dean Clinic learned of the possible exposures in August.  It responded by opening an investigation and notifying state and local health officials.  The clinic’s investigation determined the matter was an isolated incident.  Retraining of workers has commenced at the clinic’s 60 locations.  That training is to include the proper use of devices and observation of clinical practices by staff members.

Patients were notified by telephone and letter of potential exposures to blood-borne diseases such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitic C, and HIV.

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