Hospital warns thousands of infection risk from reused supplies

Olean (N.Y.) General Hospital last week announced that almost 2,000 patients may have received an injection from another patient's insulin pen.

After the infection scare involving more than 700 patients at Buffalo Veterans Administration Medical Center earlier this month, Olean General initiated its own internal review, President and CEO Timothy Finan told WBFO News.

That audit revealed the possibility that some multi-dose insulin pens may have been used for different patients between November 2009 and January 16, 2013, according to Olean.

Although recent interviews with nurses suggested reuse, the hospital maintains there's no documentation that disease transmission has occurred to any Olean patient due to inappropriate use of insulin pens.

But with unsafe injection practices linked to certain blood borne infections, Olean is working to ensure the safety of affected patients, it said.

Regardless of the "very small risk" of potential infections, the hospital took several precautions that include self-disclosing concerns to the New York State Health Department, informing the media and discontinuing the use of insulin pens at the facility.

As the hospital continues its investigation, it also is notifying affected patients of the potential misuse of insulin pen, as well as recommending and offering free blood screening for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV.

To learn more:
- read the Olean announcement and letter to patients (.pdfs)
- check out the WBFO News article