Health
9:05 am
Fri January 25, 2013

Olean General Hospital says it, too, may have shared insulin pens

Another Western New York hospital is notifying its patients that they may have been exposed to potential contamination through the improper reuse of insulin pens.

Olean General Hospital announced Thursday that it is mailing letters to 1,915 patients who received insulin at the hospital. Patients are being notified that they could have been exposed to HIV, Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C.  The hospital is recommending blood screening.

Timothy Finan, president and CEO of Olean General, tells WBFO News after the Veterans Administration Hospital in Buffalo announced the same discovery last week, Olean General conducted its own internal review. 

Insulin pens
Insulin pens
Credit Photo from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"I can't stress enough that we're not aware that this occurred. We haven't identified a single patient who received insulin from other than their own insulin pen. We are exercising an abundance of caution here. This whole audit was initiated by the hospital, self-disclosed to the New York State Health Department," Finan said.

The insulin pens were used on diabetic inpatients only from November of 2009 through last week.

"We're acting on information from a few nurses who say that this may have occurred," Finan said. "The pens were never intended for multiple use. All nurses who received in-services on insulin pens know that."

The VA in Buffalo said more than 700 patients may have been exposed to blood-borne pathogens over a two-year period when the pens, intended for use by a single patient, were reused.