Four hundred and fifteen patients of the Aesthetic Plastic Surgical Center in Spokane have been sent letters by the Washington state Department of Health recommending they get tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV because the clinic may have reused syringes and drug vials intended for single-use. See “Unsafe injection practices at Spokane clinic poses exposure risk for patients” Reusing syringes and drug vials can result in infection.
The Health Department had the clinic implement a plan of correction April and started notifying patients who were treated at the clinic between 2006 to April 2013. Patients may elect to be tested to make sure that they were not infected with any blood borne viruses.
Surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Karp denies that he or his staff reused vials and syringes and that they disposed of them properly. Karp maintains that a technician, interviewed by the Health Department, was misunderstood or there was a miscommunication.
The Centers for Disease Control sets forth standards for the safe use of single dose medication to prevent healthcare-associated infections. It is important that syringes, needles and vials containing medication be used only one time. Improper infection control, reuse of syringes, contamination of vials with unclean needles, uses single-dose vials for more than one patients has resulted in approximately 150,000 patients in the U.S. possibly being exposed to hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV since 2001. In 2009, a CDC journal reported that 33 hepatitis outbreaks were reported between 1998 and 2008 as a result of unsafe infection control practices.
A chilling statistic on the One and Only One Campaign website says:
1% to 3% of healthcare providers reuse the same needle and/or syringe on multiple patients.
In 2008, there was a scandal involving a Las Vegas clinic that reused syringes and vials for a period of four years. In that case, almost 40,000 patients were advised to get testing after it was discovered that the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada was the source of infection after their “unsafe injection practices related to the administration of anesthesia medication may have exposed patients to the blood of other patients.” At least three of the clinic’s patients were sickened with hepatitis.