CDC Warns of Unsafe Injection Practices

unsafe injection practices
Patients Notified of Potential Exposure to Unsafe Injections

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 150,000 patients have been impacted by unsafe medical injections and consequently have received notification letters to notify them of the potential exposure to an unsafe injection. “The CDC is aware of more than 50 outbreaks since 2001,” many of which involved transmission of hepatitis B or hepatitis C, an infection of the liver that commonly becomes chronic and over half of the outbreaks have resulted in bacterial infections. Most of the outbreaks occurred in outpatient care centers and long-term care facilities.

The unsafe practice often involves health care providers reusing needles, syringes or medication vials that are only meant for one-time dose and for one patient only. Violating these safety procedures can expose patients to blood-borne illnesses such as hepatitis, HIV and other life-threatening bacterial infections.

The story hit home after the news broke about a Las Vegas medical clinic’s involvement in the 2007 hepatitis C outbreak. Tonya Rushing, the former chief operating officer of the clinic was found to be connected to unsafe injection practices and later pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud. Rushing worked under the physician owner of the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada, Dr. Dipak Desai, who will “serve his federal sentence at the same time as his state sentence” of life in prison with possibility of parole.

Medical Injection Awareness and Safety Education

Health officials believe there is a need to raise awareness and improve safety education among providers and patients in the U.S. The CDC routinely investigates outbreaks associated with inadequate practices and have instituted a set of Safe Injection Practices. The CDC recommends patients ask their healthcare providers questions before receiving an injection.

More News on Unsafe Injection Practices

For more on unsafe injection practices and the Las Vegas hepatitis C outbreak, view this Healthcare Consumer Safety video featuring Robert Eglet and Will Kemp, both named Trial Lawyer of the Year by the Nevada Justice Association (NJA) as they discuss the impact of their landmark trial results.