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Long Island Hospital May Have Exposed Patients To HIV

South Nassau Communities Hospital sent out 4,247 letters to patients due to possible blood contamination through reused insulin pen reservoirs.

A Long Island hospital has sent out more than 4,200 letters warning patients to get tested for HIV and hepatitis due to possible blood contamination. 

"The hospital says they're working with the health department and they say the risk of infection is low, but they say patients may have received insulin from an insulin pen reservoir that may have been used with more than one patient." (Via WABC)

The problem is some insulin pen reservoirs, or the part of the pen that holds the hormone, may have been used on more than one person at South Nassau Communities Hospital. ​WNBC spoke with a woman whose mother receives insulin there.

"I'm lost for words here ... this is unacceptable."

"The Centers for Disease Control say it can only be used on one person, if it's used on more than one patient, they could be exposed to the blood of another person."

Newsday points out a hospital spokesperson said no one was actually seen reusing an insulin pen reservoir, but one nurse was heard saying aloud it was alright to do so.

"Once that was said, we then followed through with a report to the state Department of Health," [the spokesperson] said.

And since the incident, the hospital has made some changes. 

It has banned the use of insulin pens and has instead switched over to using only single-patient use vials. Newsday also notes the state Department of Health said three facilities reported possible insulin pen re-use last year. 

The hospital is now offering free blood testing services. It will take the patients a few weeks to receive their results. 

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