This is horrible. An outbreak of Hepatitis C was reported this week among patients treated at New Hampshire’s Exeter Hospital cardiac catheterization lab caused by one employee’s misuse of a syringe — who most likely used a needle to inject him or herself (the suspect has not been named) with meds meant for patients, then re-used that same syringe on a patient or patients. Hepatitis C is a viral disease that is transmitted by blood and leads to liver inflammation and other health issues.
Nearly 730 people have been tested since May, and the state is now notifying those with positive results by phone. Four patients were originally diagnosed with the disease, but that number has grown to 20.
According to Fox News, “State and local health departments aren’t required to report such outbreaks to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but the agency was notified of 13 outbreaks nationwide between 2008 and 2011. Of those, seven occurred in outpatient facilities, and most were traced to unsafe injection practices. At least two have resulted in criminal charges, including a Colorado woman who was convicted of stealing syringes filled with painkillers from two hospitals where she worked and replacing them with used syringes. The syringes were later used on surgical patients, and up to three dozen were found to have hepatitis C after being exposed.”
The lab was closed but is currently open; there’s no further risk of Hep-C transmission via the lab’s employees. It’s a disgrace that there are hospital employees out there who are not only failing to receive the treatment they know they need, but are putting the lives of their own patients at complete and utter risk.