- NORMAN, Oklahoma (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 for injections on them, a hospital spokesman said on
- Six patients at Norman Regional Hospital, near Oklahoma
City, contracted the potentially fatal liver disease hepatitis-C from the
tainted needles, he said.
- Officials said nurse-anesthetist James C. Hill admitted
reusing needles while injecting pain medication in patients, from Dec.
31, 2001 through Aug. 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, Farrimond said.
- Farrimond said in that addition to hepatitis C and B,
patients are also being tested for the presence of the HIV virus, adding
no one so far has tested positive for HIV.
- Hill and his supervising physician have been removed
from the hospital and their privileges revoked, said Farrimond.
- A lawsuit was filed in Norman on Wednesday against Hill
and the supervising physician, 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 Lewis.
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- From Ken Case
- As a resident of Oklahoma I am outraged that such a thing
could happen. However, as reported in the state's largest newspaper, The
- it should be duly noted that while the so-called "nurse"
admitted to reusing needles, the injections were said to have been made
via an existing heparin lock device.
- Such injections are given through an IV catheter tube
and the needle is never actually inserted into the body of the patient.
- At no time should a needle be reused and such conduct
is simply an unacceptable practice. I just felt that in all fairness the
admitted manner in which the needles were reused should be known. Thank
- Ken Case
an Oklahoma Resident