Possible Exposure to Deadly Diseases

August 28, 2008 8:25:46 PM PDT
Fourteen patients at Clovis Community Hospital may have been accidentally exposed to HIV or the hepatitis virus.The possible exposure occurred August 16th. Instruments used for laparoscopic surgery had been cleaned and sanitized. But the hospital says they may have not have been fully sterilized under high heat before they were re-used.

The 14 patients at Clovis Community Hospital who may have come in contact with the instruments have been notified. They were offered lab tests as a precaution. The hospital says all of the tests have come up negative.

Hospital officials declined to appear on camera. Community medical Centers Senior Vice President Dr. Thomas Utecht said "There is no reason to believe that any of the 14 people have been exposed to HIV or any other form of infection."

Utecht goes on to say "All other procedures performed at Clovis Community are not in question."

The state health department says the risk of infection in this case is not considered high. The state though is expected to investigate the mishap.

Clovis Community CEO Craig Castro said "This one-time incident was quickly identified and addressed."

But the state health department has been busy doling out fines to valley hospitals for poor patient care. The cardiac unit at St. Agnes was shut down twice this year because several heart patients came down with post-operation infections.

St. Agnes was hit with a 25-thousand dollar fine ? as was Kaiser Hospital for issuing unsafe doses of medicine to children.

It remains to be seen what action the state will take, if any, after this incident at Clovis Community.

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