Salem Hospital in Massachusetts Puts 450 Patients at Risk of HIV, Hepatitis
Last Updated on November 17, 2023
An estimated 450 patients of the endoscopy unit at Salem Hospital in Massachusetts are at risk of HIV, Hepatitis C, and Hepatitis A after they were administered “possibly contaminated IVs over a period of two years.”
According to local media, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) conducted an on-site investigation at Salem Hospital earlier this year, after it was realized that a “sterility breach” had occurred, with patients of the Salem Hospital endoscopy unit potentially being exposed to HIV and various forms of Hepatitis for a period that stretched nearly two years.
While few additional details on the potential disease outbreak have been released, the Massachusetts DPH says that affected patients have been notified and offered free disease testing, with none of them testing positive for HIV or Hepatitis thus far.
Remarkably, media coverage, ranging from local to national in scale, has sought to downplay the severity of the issue, chalking the potential outbreak of hyper-deadly diseases in a medical facility up to a mere error in IV protocol, with Fox 25 Boston even blaming the situation on Covid.
“These days, all areas of hospitals tend to be busy — but perhaps especially endoscopy units, some of which are still working through a backlog of patients who put off screening during the pandemic,” the local Fox affiliate opined.
However, some additional details were revealed in a story from The Salem News, in which a patient revealed that “reused medical equipment caused [the] infection scare at Salem Hospital.”
“Geoff Millar said he was informed by hospital officials that equipment used in administering anesthesia to endoscopy patients was used on multiple patients instead of being changed for each patient to prevent infections,” The Salem News reported.
“Salem Hospital has not offered more information about the exact nature of the mistake, which it called an ‘isolated practice.’ The potential exposures took place from June 14, 2021, to April 19, 2023,” the report went on.
According to the same report, Salem Hospital says that the disease scare involved “a single contracted individual” and that the hospital’s excuse for not catching the problem for a period of two years was that the problem “was not easily observed.”