Hospital's Drug Diversion Nightmare Spawns Multiple Infections
Samples from another nine were negative, but are undergoing further "quasi-species" testing this week at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta to be certain, a CDC official confirms. In addition to the CDC, the hospital is reportedly under scrutiny by at least eight federal or state agencies—from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Food and Drug Administration, the Office of Inspector General, the state Attorney General, the New Hampshire Department of Health, and state hospital licensing officials, on behalf of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Local law enforcement agencies have been notified. And the Joint Commission is also asking questions.
At least three class action lawsuits claiming that the hospital was negligent have been filed or are in the works.
On June 14, the hospital's president and CEO Kevin Callahan issued a public apology saying, "We disrupted peoples' lives." The facility website's home page so far has 13 updates on the investigation and status of testing exposed patients. The catheterization lab was closed for six days. The status of the suspected employee is unclear.
Complicating the situation is the fact that the employee suspect apparently was a hospital patient too, Montero says.
Montero described similar situations that the Exeter investigation may find are similar. A caregiver might take a syringe containing "a type of medication that a drug addict would like to have," and they switch it with a syringe the addict has used. Or during a procedure, the employee injects part of the content of the syringe, refills it with saline or water, and then returns it for use on the patient.
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