More than 3,700 patients who went in for surgery at the HealthPlus Surgery Center in New Jersey may have been exposed to HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C, according to a harrowing report from NBC News.
While no patients at the clinic have reported any worrisome symptoms to date, the New Jersey Department of Health is naturally advising all patients who visited the clinic between January of 2018 and September 7 of 2018 to get tested. As it should, HealthPlus Surgery Center said it will foot the bill for any testing costs.
Now as to how something like this could happen in 2018, well that’s the million dollar question. According to reports, staff members at the surgery center were not following proper medical guidelines with respect to keeping instruments clean and sterile.
To this point, the clinic disclosed that there were “lapses in infection control in sterilization/cleaning instruments and the injection of medications may have exposed patients to bloodborne pathogens.”
The clinic also added that staffers “failed to comply with other regulations regarding the dispensing and storage of medication, as well as infection control planning and procedures…”
The specific reason why this inexcusable behavior went on for as long as it did remains unclear at this point. It’s also unclear what prompted the New Jersey Department of Health to investigate the clinic in the first place.
Regardless, it’s absolutely baffling that this took place and one can only hope that no infections were actually transmitted to any unsuspecting patients.
“The state closed the surgery center on Sept. 7, and allowed it to reopen on Sept. 28,” the report adds. “During that time, HealthPlus said it hired new staff members, improved infection control, conducted training for its new sterile-processing staff, and cleaned and repaired all medical equipment.”
HealthPlus’ full press release on the matter can be viewed here.