Updated 02/15/2013 06:22 PM
Olean General Hospital confirms 13 cases of hepatitis, deny it’s related to reuse of insulin pens
A spokesperson for Olean General Hospital has confirmed 13 patients have tested positive for Hepatitis but says those cases may not be related to re-use of insulin pens. YNN's Kevin Jolly talked with the hospital spokesperson and Congressman Chris Collins about the inquiry into insulin pen re-use at the Buffalo VA Hospital.
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OLEAN, N.Y. — Olean General Hospital officials confirm 12 people have tested positive for Hepatitis C and one person Hepatitis B after the hospital sent notices to more than 1,900 patients who received insulin shots from insulin pens over the past three years.
Spokesperson Dennis McCarthy says although the 13 patients have tested positive, it's not conclusive it was related to reuse of the insulin pens.
"To date, the hospital has not identified a single patient who ever received a single injection from another patient's insulin pen. There's no documentation at this time of any blood borne infections during the stay of any patient who received and insulin pen injection at OGH from November 2009 to January 15th of this year," said Dennis McCarthy, VP of marketing at Olean General Hospital.
But some patients disagree. Several patients have already retained legal representation and say they plan to sue the hospital.
"We expect in the next few days we will be serving the hospital with papers, citing them for negligence and malpractice, and these people were severely injured," said John Elmore, lawyer.
"It's very regrettable that opportunistic attorneys have taken the course to try to stimulate the population and cause some alarm. The chances of someone getting hepatitis fromand insulin pen are so miniscule it may be immeasurable," said McCarthy.
Last month, the VA office of the Inspector General announced it's looking into possible reuse of insulin pens at the VA Medical Center in Buffalo. More than 700 veterans potentially could have been exposed to infectious diseases between October 2010 and November 2012.
Freshman Congressman Chris Collins, a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee called for the investigation.
"We're still quite hopeful that no one was infected, but the the fact 13 individuals did test positive for Hepatitis-C at the Olean (hospital) does reinforce why it's so important for these veterans to get the tests done," said Collins, (R).
Olean General Hospital officials insist the chances are remote the 13 cases are related to insulin pen reuse. Still, they're encouraging all patients contacted to get tested.