Reused Needles on Patients August 30, 2003
NORMAN (Reuters) - Six
people contracted hepatitis at an Oklahoma hospital
and about 350 other patients were undergoing tests
after a nurse at the facility reused hypodermic needles,
a hospital spokesman said on Wednesday.
Six patients at Norman Regional Hospital, near Oklahoma
City, became infected with hepatitis C virus from
the tainted needles, he said.
Officials said nurse-anesthetist James C. Hill admitted
reusing needles while injecting pain medication in
patients, from December 31, 2001 through August 19
of this year.
"We have seen approximately 350 individuals
who could possibly have been exposed," hospital
spokesman Grant Farrimond said. "The hospital
has contacted those individuals and offered to test
them at their convenience." About 200 have been
tested so far, he added.
Farrimond said that in addition to hepatitis C and
B testing, exposed patients were also being tested
for HIV ( news - web sites) infection.
Hill and his supervising physician have been removed
from the hospital and their privileges have been revoked,
A lawsuit was filed in Norman on Wednesday against
Hill and the supervising physician Dr. Jerry W. Lewis,
by a patient who received injections at the clinic.
The hospital said Hill used the same needle for at
least 15 patients a day, but would not speculate why
he reused needles. The lawsuit is charging the nurse
with negligent and malicious behavior.
Farrimond said the pain clinic, which operated in
the hospital, was privately staffed and operated by