14 victims of syringe reuse suing Corning Hospital in NY

Fourteen patients are suing Corning Hospital in Elmira, N.Y., after they were exposed to unsafe injection practices. Guthrie Healthcare System, the hospital's parent company, and the unidentified nurse who reportedly reused saline syringes on 236 people are also named in the suit.

The Star-Gazette of Elmira reported that the lawsuit, which stated that the nurse could have subjected the patients to exposure to hepatitis B and C and HIV between Oct. 15, 2012 and Jan. 29, 2013, was filed Monday in the Chemung County Clerk's Office. it seeks "fair and reasonable" compensation for injuries, emotional distress and costs. Corning Hospital informed the 236 people potentially infected in February of the mistake, and they were advised to go get precautionary testing.

"The people involved are mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers who are scared to death right now," said Adam Gee, an attorney handling the suit, according to the Star-Gazette. "It's shocking that a highly trained registered nurse could make such a simple mistake by reusing the syringes."

The Corning (N.Y.) Leader reports that the hospital is not entirely sure who the nurse is, but they have an idea. Hospital officials were tipped off by the nurse's co-workers, the newspaper reported, and then contacted the potentially infected patients.

Carolyn Handrick, public relations manager for Guthrie, said to The Leader that they encourage all patients who received notification from the hospital to get testing.

In late January, Olean (N.Y.) General Hospital announced that almost 2,000 patients may have received an injection from another patient's insulin pen. Three patients set out to sue the hospital, saying they contracted hepatitis from the injections. Syringe and needle re-use has resulted in more than 30 outbreaks of infectious disease from 2001 to 2011.

To learn more:
- read the articles from The Leader and The Star-Gazette

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