MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Twin Cities nurse is out of a job after she allegedly used the same syringe on multiple patients.
Allina Health said the nurse worked at a dermatology clinic at Allina Health’s Bandana Square clinic in St. Paul, and more than 160 patients may have been impacted since October.
“Definitely this is surprising,” said Dr. Mark Bergstrand of Methodist Hospital. “It’s not something you expect to hear, especially in our own backyard.”
He said patient safety is a no-brainer in his line of work. Anything less could put him out of business, which is why he makes sure his staff takes all the necessary precautions.
“We would expect anybody working in the health care setting, even at the lowest level, to have good, clean hygiene and understand the need to use a new syringe with each patient,” Bergstrand said.
But Allina Health said a nurse practitioner at a dermatology clinic failed to do that. They said she used a new sterile needle for each patient, but in some cases used the same syringe on several patients.
“Some of the blood from one patient could get into the syringe and then could expose the next patient, so we worry about the transmission of blood-borne infections,” Bergstrand said. “Things like HIV or Hepatitis, particularly Hepatitis C.”
Allina said the nurse responsible is no longer working there, and in a statement said, “We believe the risk of infection to these patients is very low.”
But Allina is contacting 161 people who received an injection by the nurse, and are recommending they be tested for possible exposure to disease. They will do the tests free of charge.
“This is quite serious, and I’m happy to hear that Allina is looking into it,” Bergstrand said.
Allina officials said they are sorry this occurred, and they say they are doing everything they can to help those affected.
They say they are dedicated to patient safety.