TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Jun 12, 2018, 5:55 PM ET

Patients being tested for HIV after nurse reused syringes

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A Cherokee Nation hospital in Oklahoma is testing more than 180 patients for HIV and hepatitis after allegations that a nurse reused syringes to administer medications.

The nurse violated protocols by using the same vial of medication and syringe to inject multiple intravenous bags at W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah, according to Cherokee officials. The nurse no longer works for the tribe, the Tulsa World reported .

"We're a big government, and we have to do our due diligence to make sure things are handled properly," said Joe Byrd, speaker of the Cherokee Tribal Council. "You can be sure that I'll have my pulse on the situation."

Researchers strongly recommend against reusing syringes with IV bags but say the risk of transmitting a disease by doing so is low, according to a 2010 study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

The risk of transmitting hepatitis B was less than 53 in 1 million, while the risk of transmitting hepatitis C was less than 4.3 in 1 million, according to the study. The risk of transmitting HIV was about 0.15 in 1 million.

"Patients were never directly in contact with any needle," said Brian Hail, the hospital's CEO. "The likelihood of blood-borne pathogens traveling up the lines into an IV bag or IV tubing to cause cross-contamination from using the same syringe is extremely remote."

Still, hospital officials said patients who were treated at the hospital between January and April should return for blood tests as a precaution.

About 64 patients had been screened as of Monday, and none tested positive. Officials are also still working to notify eight patients who should be tested, Hail said.

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Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com

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  • Dicazi

    Why?
    Ignorance?
    A shortage of syringes?
    Stealing them for resell or drugs?

  • jon rhodes

    It's hard for me to believe that a person with a nursing degree would be so ignorant that they wouldn't know the dangers of reusing needles, or that they are knowledgeable but are unbelievably lazy. I have a health education degree and have worked in hospitals in the midwest and on the West coast, and I have never seen anyone ever reuse a needle or use an unsterile technique.

  • Prophet With Honor

    Despite the odds, the follow-up is necessary. Good for coming clean.

  • rontron

    Medical mistakes kill over 200000 people in the US every year according to MSM. Chances are your local hospital won't divulge their number.