Nassau Medical Center Extends Warning Over Insulin Pens

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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