293 people could have been exposed to HIV and hepatitis, while they were patients at the Baystate Noble Hospital.
Representatives from the hospital have started announcing some of its former patients that they might have been exposed to some blood borne diseases. The medical team from the hospital performed colonoscopies for 293 patients in the period of time between June 11, 2012 and April 17, 2013. Apparently, they did not make sure to disinfect the colonoscopes as they should have. Back then, the Noble Hospital and the Baystate Health network were not joined. The two institutions joined only in July 2015.
The current president of the hospital, Ronald Bryant, publicly apologized to all the people that were affected by the lack of safety measurements that existed back then. He stated that the hospital takes full responsibility for what happened and he wanted to make sure that the people still know that their safety is the number one priority of the Baystate Noble Hospital.
The problem began when the hospital headquartered in Westfield, Massachusetts began using new colonoscopes. These colonoscopes were different from the old ones, and the disinfection process they required was different as well. Because the staff was not trained properly and because they instruments were different, they were not properly cleaned after they were used. Starting with April 2013, the hospital made sure that the colonoscopes were used and cleaned properly. In December 2015, the Department of Public Health from Massachusetts notified the hospital of the possible threat to the patients that received colonoscopies back then.
After the hospital was notified, letters were sent to all the patients treated in that period of time and they were informed that they might have been exposed to either HIV or hepatitis. The screenings for these patients will be free. Even though the chances that one of these patients got infected are very small, the hospital representatives want to make sure that not a single person was harmed. According to Dr. Sarah Haessler from the Baystate Noble Hospital, even though the risks were very low, there is still a probability that out of the 293 people could have been exposed to HIV and hepatitis, some might have caught something. Haessler, who is the head epidemiologist at the hospital wants to assure the people involved that everything they need, the hospital will provide, starting with the transportation, to the screenings and even the treatment if it will be required.
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