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Old 03-04-2008, 12:07 PM   #1
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A Serious Topic

From the Associated Press
CDC Warns of Safety Problems at Clinics

By ERICA WERNER – 17 hours ago
WASHINGTON (AP) — An outbreak of hepatitis C at a Nevada clinic may represent "the tip of an iceberg" of safety problems at clinics around the country, according to the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The city of Las Vegas shut down the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada last Friday after state health officials determined that six patients had contracted hepatitis C because of unsafe practices including clinic staff reusing syringes and vials. Nevada health officials are trying to contact about 40,000 patients who received anesthesia by injection at the clinic between March 2004 and Jan. 11 to urge them to get tested for hepatitis C, hepatitis B and HIV.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., met Monday with CDC head Dr. Julie Gerberding, and on a media conference call after their meeting both strongly condemned practices at the clinic.

Health care accreditors "would consider this a patient safety error that falls into the category of a 'never event,' meaning this should never happen in contemporary health care organizations," said Gerberding.

"This is the largest number of patients that have ever been contacted for a blood exposure in a health-care setting. But unfortunately we have seen other large-scale situations where similar practices have led to patient exposures," Gerberding said.
"Our concern is that this could represent the tip of an iceberg and we need to be much more aggressive about alerting clinicians about how improper this practice is," she said, "but also continuing to invest in our ability to detect these needles in a haystack at the state level so we recognize when there has been a bad practice and patients can be alerted and tested."

Reid said he would work with Gerberding to try to get the CDC more resources in an emergency spending bill Congress is to take up in April.

State health officials said they weren't sure how many of the 40,000 patients they'd been able to contact since making the risk public last Wednesday. At least initially they didn't have correct addresses for 1,400, officials said.

The head of the clinic, Dr. Dipak Desai, purchased space for an open letter in the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Sunday in which he expressed "my deepest sympathy to all our patients and their families for the fear and uncertainty that naturally arises from this situation."

Desai offered no apology but said a foundation was being set up to cover testing costs. He also defended practices at his clinic, which performs colonoscopies.

"The evidence does not support that syringes or needles were ever reused from patient to patient at the center," Desai wrote.

A spokeswoman, Nancy Katz, declined Monday to comment further.

The Clark County district attorney is investigating, as are various health agencies, including the Nevada State Board of Nursing. Several lawsuits already have been filed and a hearing is scheduled for Thursday before a Nevada legislative committee.

It may never be known how many people contracted hepatitis C because of unsafe practices at the endoscopy center, state health officials said. Brian Labus, head epidemiologist of the Southern Nevada Health District, said that because 4 percent of the population has hepatitis C, he expects to get numerous positive results after the at-risk clinic patients are tested and it may be impossible to determine which of those were infected at the clinic.

Of the six cases that health officials did trace to the clinic, five of them happened on the same day and genetic testing was used to make the connection, Labus said.

Hepatitis C can cause fatal liver disease as well jaundice and fatigue, but 80 percent of people infected show no symptoms. Hepatitis B is a more rare and serious disease that attacks the liver.

Meanwhile, state health officials are still looking at a second clinic with connections to the first, called Desert Shadow Endoscopy Center. At Desert Shadow, officials had been found to reuse anesthetic vials but not syringes and so far no patients have been notified of potential risk. That determination could still be made, said Lisa Jones, head of the Nevada State Health Division's bureau of licensure and certification.





This is just the latest in a series of similar incidents which have been kept relatively quiet by the media (for some unknown reason) and it could be happening at the clinic that you go to for routine medical care.

Please insist that any medical professional who is going to inject you with anything open all syringes, scalpels, medicines, etc. in your presence. If they won't do then it then walk out - Someone who would potentially expose you to a deadly disease in order to save a nickel really isn't to be trusted.

Hepatitus C is a very serious liver disease that is spreading rapidly throughout the world (there are 4 times more people infected with it than HIV).
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Old 03-04-2008, 12:09 PM   #2
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Odd that you posted this because today, on the radio, I heard that one of the Senators from Illinois is trying to float a bill that would require health facilities to document and make available to the public any instances of infections of any type that a person contracted from the health facility.

I agree, this is serious, and I had no idea that it was as widespread. I have recently, having been with a sick family member from Nov through January, heard many stories about certain hospitals in the Louisville area being sources of some infections.

Also, here in the Chicago area a year or so back, some folks also caught things from the hospital.

You know, you never expect to catch something from a hosptial.....one thinks they'd be more on top of things given the business they are in.....
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Old 03-04-2008, 12:38 PM   #3
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Thanks Crusty.

The joke we hear often is if you want to catch an illness go to the local hospital because it's already filled with sick people.

I do know a friend was in hospital last year for an operation and while there got staph (?) infection that was a real problem for him for quite some time. It really buggered up his summer camping. Right now the Norwalk virus is moving around the various Lower Mainland of BC hospitals. You have to feel sorry for the medical community who have to go work in that environment regardless, and often at great risk to themselves. But as you point out there's always someone who is cutting corners. I did hear that doctors and med staff in hospitals only wash their hands 40% of the time between patients. I don't know how the reporters came up with that number but thought it was interesting.

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Old 03-04-2008, 12:39 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie
You know, you never expect to catch something from a hosptial.....one thinks they'd be more on top of things given the business they are in.....
Last year, almost exactly at this time, I contracted MRSA from the hospital...Nearly died from it. It's more prevelant than you think.
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Old 03-04-2008, 12:45 PM   #5
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Nosocomial infections are extremely common with Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus being the most prevalent.

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Old 03-04-2008, 12:47 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by soldiermedic
Nosocomial infections are extremely common with Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus being the most prevalent.

Steve
Uhh, what he said...
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Old 03-04-2008, 12:53 PM   #7
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MRSA stands for Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

Basically a nasty Staph infection that is only taken out with really strong antibiotics like Vancomycin.

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Old 03-04-2008, 01:04 PM   #8
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It's like....YA...I heard that about our area too!!!! Just read an article about our local area. Staph infections are happening at an alarming rate ....for patients who had surgery. And hepititus is at a all time high. What is going on?????

One thing I have noticed about our area as I have had a couple trips to the Hospitol over the last year or so and my DR's office. Personel seem to be getting less and less professional acting????? I thought it was just me,,,,a synical old fart with over active observations. But NO....friends are telling me the same thing. Are We hiring the wrong people and standards being ignored? Or as in the case of so many things....regulations abound but NOBODY to inforce them or are affraid to confront someone? I think the later has a lot to do with it.
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Old 03-04-2008, 01:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soldiermedic
MRSA stands for Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

Basically a nasty Staph infection that is only taken out with really strong antibiotics like Vancomycin.

Steve
Whew, thanks for the clarification.

I know also that Vancouver's infamous "East side Downtown" is a real issue for the contagious disease group here. It's an area frequented by drug abusers and there are a lot of street people who have migrated there from across Canada due to the relatively mild winter and availability of drugs. Unfortunately the disease rate there is at an all time high for these folks who are already in an unfortunate situation.

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Old 03-04-2008, 01:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soldiermedic
Basically a nasty Staph infection that is only taken out with really strong antibiotics like Vancomycin.

Steve
Vanco was what was used in my case. IV, two times a day...No fun at all, but better than the alternative. I can hardly wait for my next hospital bout to see what I get from it.
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Old 03-04-2008, 01:22 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63
Vanco was what was used in my case. IV, two times a day...No fun at all, but better than the alternative. I can hardly wait for my next hospital bout to see what I get from it.
We could have a poll on that one Terry .

(that was my inner voice speaking )

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