Tainted insulin pens may have been administered to patients - WNEM TV 5

Tainted insulin pens may have been administered to patients

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Griffin Hospital officials held a news conference Friday afternoon. (WFSB photo) Griffin Hospital officials held a news conference Friday afternoon. (WFSB photo)
The insulin pens may have been used on multiple patients, officials said. (WFSB photo) The insulin pens may have been used on multiple patients, officials said. (WFSB photo)
DERBY, CT (WFSB) -

Insulin pens administered to patients at Griffin Hospital in Derby could have been misused, hospital officials said Friday.

They said approximately 3,100 patients could have been exposed to possible disease transmission. The people would be tested for HIV and Hepatitis B and C.

The dates the pens were ordered were between Sept. 1, 2008 and May 7, 2014.

The pens were multi-dose pens meant for a single patient, according to hospital officials. The needles itself that goes into the skin is designed for one time use. 

However, they believe the pens may have been used on multiple patients.

"I think physicians are human, that mistakes are made," said Adriana Burgos, of Derby.

Charmel said at least five nurses said they did use the pens on multiple patients over a period of time. Officials said only the risk was minimal.

"I think it's very important they admit to it and they do try to reach out to whoever. Better be safe than sorry," said Griffin Hospital President and CEO Pat Charmel.

Officials said the needle itself was not used on more than one patient. The cartridge from the pen was the subject of the investigation.

The problem is microscopic blood or skin cells could travel back up the needle into the pen cartridge. If that pen cartridge were used on a different patient, even with a clean needle, it could spread a disease.

"You could be injecting that contamination into another patient, which creates the possibility of disease transmission," Charmel said.

A hospital staff member raised the concern during a safety huddle.

"The climate we are trying to achieve is one in which staff are empowered to raise concerns proactively about practices that may cause risk to patients," the Connecticut Hospital Association said in a statement. "We commend Griffin Hospital's leadership for taking full responsibility and affirmative steps to address the issue."

Letters were being sent to all patients Friday. Officials at Griffin Hospital have turned one of its conference rooms into a call center to help people with questions.

Those affected were being urged to call a hotline for hepatitis and HIV testing. The letter said the hotline numbers 203-732-1411 and 203-732-1340 were going to be staffed from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

CHA said that while it understood the risk of exposure was very small, it encouraged ,contacted patients to follow the guidance to get tested and put their minds at ease.

For more information from Griffin Hospital, click here.

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