Buffalo News (02.26.13)
Three former patients of Olean General Hospital in New York are suing the hospital and several insulin pen manufacturers. They allege the hospital’s misuse of insulin pens is at fault for their hepatitis infections; their lawyer contends that hospital employees were misusing the pens by reusing them on multiple patients. The lawsuit was filed after Cattaraugus County public health officials reported that at least eight people had tested positive for hepatitis after screening by Olean General. However, Dennis J. McCarthy, spokesperson for Olean General, contends that there is no proof that the people who tested positive for hepatitis contracted it through reused insulin pens.
The plaintiffs filed suit more than a month after the hospital warned 1,915 former patients that they might have been exposed to HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C through possible reuse of the pens between November 2009 and January 16, 2013. The hospital suspended its use of insulin pens and advised former patients to get blood tests. The hospital stated that insulin pen reuse was not allowed, but may have occurred. They explained that the practice was to label insulin pens for each patient and there was no evidence that a pen was used on more than one patient.