South Nassau Communities Hospital is telling thousands of patients to get hepatitis and HIV tests after staff members possibly injected them with used needles, according to Newsday.
A total of 4,247 patients have been sent letters telling them they may have been injected with insulin pens that were used on other patients at the Oceanside hospital, said the report.
The alert was sent out after hospital officials reportedly heard a nurse had given the okay administer the hormone “from an insulin pen reservoir -- not the pen's single-use disposable needle,” said the report. Those pens could have been used on more than one patient.
While no one was seen reusing the insulin pen reservoir, spokesman Damian Becker told Newsday a report was filed with the Department of Health when they heard of the incident.
Hospital officials said risk of infection is “extremely low” but testing is recommended, said the report.
Insulin pens, used on diabetes patients, are meant to be used once and discarded because of possible contamination. If used on more than one person, blood could effectively be taken from one individual and injected into the next and subject others to diseases.
Patients at risk should receive their letters by March 17, said the report.
200 people have already called the hospital in response to the letters, which were sent out "in phases," said the report.
South Nassau has reportedly banned insulin pens and has switched to using only single-patient-use vials.
Patients who were notified can arrange a free and confidential blood test at South Nassau by calling 516-208-0029.