South Nassau Communities Hospital, located on 1 Healthy Way, says that only 200 people signed up for free blood testing after it warned over 4,000 people that they may have been exposed to blood contamination through multiple use insulin pens.
Letters were sent to 4,247 patients who received insulin through an insulin pen that may have been used in multiple people. “Insulin pens are injector devices with a built-in insulin reservoir designed to be used multiple times, but for one person,” said Eyewitness News Dr. Sapna Parikh. “Insulin pens should never be used in more than one person because with each injection, there’s a small risk a small amount of blood can go backwards into the cartridge, creating a risk the next time.”
Insulin pens have been banned at the hospital, and only single-patient-use vials will be used going forward, the hospital said in a released statement. The blood testing is voluntary, but recommended. Testing is free and confidential. A dedicated toll-free telephone number has also been set up for patients to schedule a test within 60 days of receiving the letter: 516-208-0029.
The full hospital statement, according to ABC, reads: “Working closely with the New York State Department of Health, South Nassau is voluntarily notifying a specific group of patients that may have received insulin from an insulin pen reservoir (not the pen’s single-use disposable needle) that may have been used with more than one patient. The risk of infection from this is extremely low, nonetheless, out of an abundance of caution, the hospital is recommending that patients receiving the notification be tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. While the testing is voluntary, it is recommended. To facilitate the process, the hospital is offering the patients free and confidential blood testing services. It has established a dedicated toll-free telephone number that the patients may call to schedule a blood test within 60 days after receiving the letter. South Nassau has already implemented a hospital-wide policy that bans the use of insulin pens and permits only the use of single-patient-use vials to administer prescribed insulin treatments to patients.”