Hospital Glucose Monitors Overlooked as Infection Source
How each glucometer should be cleaned and with what type of cleaning material depends on the type of device. Manufacturers are now required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to include specific cleaning instructions with the meters' packaging.
No Exeter Hospital patients are known to have been infected through unsanitary use of glucose monitors, New Hampshire state epidemiologist Sharon Alroy-Preis says. And no investigation or patient lookback is planned.
"I'm not sure how it would be possible to look back and check, we don't know what we would be looking for," she explains.
Even if patients were infected, they may not show symptoms.
She says, however, that the state will be on the lookout for patients who show up with otherwise unexplained viral or bacterial infections that aren't linked to Exeter Hospital's catheterization lab.
For Perz, the entire experience at Exeter Hospital relays an important lesson.
"The narcotics tampering that's alleged is a great example of a risk that previously was largely overlooked. And that's very concerning. But at the same time, I would say that the risks around unsafe diabetes care in healthcare settings, specifically around blood glucose monitoring and administration, have also been overlooked."
Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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