A medical assistant holds an insulin pen administered to diabetes patients at a private clinic in New Delhi on November 8, 2011. India is facing a twin epidemic of diabetes and high blood pressure, doctors have warned, after the results of a countrywide study suggested that one in five people had both conditions. AFP PHOTO/ SAJJAD HUSSAIN (Photo credit should read SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images)
Insulin pens ordered for patients hospitalized at Griffin Hospital, in Derby, might have been misused, exposing patients to possible disease transmission, according to a statement from the hospital.
A letter from the hospital said pens used between Sept. 1, 2008 and May 7, 2014 might have been used by more than one patient.
"(W)e discovered that in a small number of cases, multi-dose insulin pen cartridges intended for single patient use may have been used for more than one patient," a letter the hospital sent to patients says. "Upon learning this, we stopped using this type of insulin pen to avoid any further potential for improper use."
Pens have been ordered for at least 3,149 patients since Sept. 1, 2008 and at least five nurses said they used a pen on multiple patients.
"It shouldn't have happened, but it did," Patrick Charmel, president and CEO of Griffin Hospital, said.
Hospital officials haven't identified specific patients who received injections from another patient's insulin pen.They said there is also no evidence that needles were shared.
A news release from the hospital said needles were not reused, but the pen's insulin cartridge could be contaminated with the "backflow" of blood or skin cells from another patient.
Patients identified for possible risk should be tested within the next 30 days for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV as a precaution, the hospital letter says.
Griffin Hospital is offering free and confidential testing for patients.
Special phone lines have also been set up and will be staffed from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. You can call 203-732-1411 and 203-732-1340.