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WI clinic warns patients of possible blood-borne disease exposure

ABC News, August 31, 2011

A Madison, WI, clinic is contacting 2,345 of its diabetic patients to determine whether a nurse may have exposed them to blood-borne illnesses, including HIV and Hepatitis B and C, over the past five years. "An internal review found that a former Dean Clinic employee was inappropriately using these devices during some patient visits between 2006 and 2011," the clinic said in a statement. In teaching patients how to administer finger sticks and insulin shots to themselves, the nurse changed the needle with each patient but reused the rest of the device, which could put patients at a slight risk of blood transfer from one person to another. The practice devices she used were not even intended for to be tried on people, the hospital said. "That demonstration pen is intended to be used not on people but rather into an inanimate object, such as a pillow or an orange," Mark Kaufman, MD, Dean's CMO, told ABC's affiliate WKOW. The clinic, which is part of a larger medical system in southern Wisconsin, reported that each patient who received insulin training by this nurse would receive a phone call or letter explaining the wrongdoing. The hospital said it would provide the necessary blood tests, follow-up care and support free of charge.