Nassau Medical Center Extends Warning Over Insulin Pens

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Nassau Medical Center.

May 22, 2008

Nassau University Medical Center said it had underestimated the number of diabetes patients potentially exposed to reused insulin pens and would be sending letters to at least 840 of them, instead of 185, urging them to be tested for hepatitis C and B and HIV.

Last week the East Meadow hospital said nurses had reported hearing of other nurses using insulin pens in more than one patient. Insulin pens are pre-filled syringes meant to be used in a single patient. Dr. Steven Walerstein, NUMC's medical director, repeated Friday that it still was not clear that anyone had actually done that and there were no reports of any resulting infection.

Walerstein said the hospital pharmacy initially estimated 185 patients had used the pens from Nov. 26, when they were first introduced, to May 5, when the hospital stopped their use. But he said when it looked several days later at other databases, it found a "significant discrepancy," with up to 905 patients potentially exposed. Some of those patients have since died and some were duplicates, he said, adding the hospital was "95 percent sure" of the 840 figure.

Walerstein said the state Department of Health had given its approval to the letter, which will also be printed in Spanish.

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Categories: Diabetes, Diabetes, Insulin, Pens

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Posted by Anonymous on 22 May 2008

Good rule of thumb ... if you're in the hospital and you're conscious, take your own blood sugar and your own insulin. No-one else will be as careful of dosing and hygiene as you are.

Our first exposure to diabetes in a hospital situation was many years ago but we were told to leave our own testing equipment at home. Then, after blood sugar was taken, we realized that they had re-used the lancet. Since this was in the earliest days of the HIV scare it was pretty appalling. Needless to say, this is not something I want to repeat.

Posted by Anonymous on 18 January 2009

I am writing in here to warn people since this is the only page i can find that i can leave a comment on. If you have a mother or someone going to get on a insulin pen please make sure they understand the pen completely before using it. My gram went to use it last saturday for the first time and she either was not explained completely how to use it or misunderstood the information. She did not think she was getting the insulin and kept injecting the insulin in her she used the whole pen which is a whole months worth. She went into a coma and my mom found her only 3-4 hrs later after it happened and it wasn't good enough because it's been a week and one day and she still has not woke up and the feeding tube had to come out today. My gram was a heathy person and we had many more years to be with her. And just because of a misunderstanding accident were going to lose her. PLEASE MAKE SURE OLDER PEOPLE UNDERSTAND U DO NOT SEE THE INSULIN GO IN, LIKE YOU DO WITH THE NEEDLES.

Posted by Anonymous on 29 January 2009

Most hospitals now use lancets that have safety mechamisims built in and cannot be resued since the lancet, once used, automatically retracts back into its casing. This is the same with prefilled insulin syringes. Regarding insulin education, it IS very important for every patient to fully understand how ANY medication/administration product works. Its also important to have a well developed rapport with a pimary care provider whom you are comfortable calling if you have questions or concerns when using them. The key is education.

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