Florida Hospital Confirms Patients Infected by Reused IV Bags

Earlier this month we wrote about yet another case of potential hospital-spread <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/hepatitis">hepatitis that was discovered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Now, NBC Miami says that some Broward General Medical Center patients received reused IV bags and have tested positive for some infectious diseases.

Nurse Qui Lan violated infection-control protocols that, according to the Sun Sentinel previously, her staff said occurred with Lan’s full knowledge. Lan put over 1,800 patients at risk with her shoddy infection practices when administering saline solution to patients who were at Broward undergoing cardiac chemical stress tests. Broward said it is not clear how those who have tested positive for infectious diseases originally became infected.

“Based on the current Broward County disease prevalence data, we expect some of the screening results to be positive for infection exposure and we will need to conduct an individual evaluation to help determine the origin,” said Dr. David Droller, head of Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases at Broward, in a statement, quoted NBC Miami. “At this time, we will make certain the individual receives appropriate care and follow-up,” added Dr. Droller.

Broward is offering free testing for HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B and C to those patients who underwent stress tests at its facility, reported NBC Miami; to date, preliminary results have been received back on testing conducted on 254 former patients. All three pathogens are blood borne in nature.

Police spokesman Sgt. Frank Sousa said the hospital requested the investigation of Qui Lan, 59, said the Sun Sentinel previously. Officials at the hospital said they learned that Lan was reusing catheter tubing and saline bags on multiple patients, said the Sun Sentinel. The tubing and bags were meant for one-time patient use during the cardiac chemical stress tests. NBC Miami said Lan handled IVs during cardiac stress testing since 2004.

Lan has an active Florida nursing license and a clean record, said the Sun Sentinel last week. She was suspended on September 8 and resigned on the 9th; the hospital reported her to the Florida Board of Nursing, said the Sun Sentinel, which added that authorities believe Lan has left the United States. James Thaw, Broward’s CEO, told the Sun Sentinel that the hospital notified patients and arranged for off-site testing in the month before it notified the police.

This is the most recent in a string of similar incidents in which medical supplies have been tampered with or used in ways that expose countless patients to disease. We have been following the scandals with the Department of Veterans Affairs’ centers in three cities in which colonoscopy and endoscopy equipment were reused without being properly sanitized. To date, noted the Sun Sentinel some 50 veterans have tested positive for blood borne pathogens.

Most recently, a surgical tech who worked out of two Colorado hospitals and hospitals in New York and Texas was charged and sentenced after it was discovered she was swapping syringes containing the narcotic pain reliever Fentanyl with saline after injecting herself. She has tested positive for hepatitis.

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