By: Thamanna Hussain

Olean General Hospital, a western New York Hospital notified its patients that they may have been exposed to HIV, Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C while improperly sharing insulin pens. Insulin pens are devices that contain insulin or an insulin cartridge, and are intended for single person use only. Additionally, federal health agencies have been cautioning against sharing insulin pens for several years. OGH was warning 1,915 patients who received insulin at the hospital about exposure to HIV from an insulin pen which was used more than once, on several different patients instead of one single patient.

Our firm is currently investigating an unlawful death case for an individual who died from fungal meningitis, due to one such insulin shot at Olean General Hospital. There is a growing concern that patients are contracting infections and diseases while being treated in hospitals, leading to further injury. In 1997 Baxter Healthcare was found to have HCV-infected Gammagard immunoglobulin after taking blood donations from inner city blood banks which were not testing donors. In 2008, we litigated for clients who contracted Hepatitis B and C at Las Vegas endoscopy centers which were reusing needles and drug vials. The Food and Drug Administration issued an alert in March 2009 after learning that more than 2,000 patients may have been exposed at a Texas hospital between 2007 and 2009. The potential dangers from infectious diseases are well known to our firm, and this is one recent example of how a hospital acquired infection can lead to further injury, illness, or even death for patients.