More than 3,000 patients who underwent procedures at a New Jersey surgery center during the first nine months of this year could have been exposed to HIV and hepatitis B and hepatitis C, according to NBC4 in New York.
The New Jersey Department of Health reported that affected patients had been treated at the HealthPlus Surgery Center in Saddle Brook between Jan. 1 and Sept. 7 of 2018.
According to NBC4, center administrator Betty McCabe said the exposure is due to “deficiencies in infection control” as it relates to cleaning instruments and administering medications, NBC4 reported.
The total number of patients exposed was 3,778, according to McCabe, and she has encouraged all those exposed to get tested, the station reported.
Additionally, McCabe said that the surgery center is offering pay for testing associated with the exposure, Fox News reported.
According to the health department, the risk of infection is low and there haven’t been any reports of illnesses.
However, the health department has also recommended testing in what it called “an abundance of caution.”
The exposure was discovered after the state department of health carried out an investigation into the surgery center, NBC News reported.
The department discovered that the staff members at HealthPlus were not properly sterilizing the center and its instruments
Staff members “failed to comply with other regulations regarding the dispensing and storage of medication, as well as infection control planning and procedures,” according to HealthPlus Surgery Center’s statement to NBC.
“We recognize that this may be upsetting to our patients, and we are taking this matter very seriously and taking steps to assist them during this process,” the statement added, according to ABC News.
“To that end, we have provided information about where and when they can get tested, as well as offered to pay for all medical costs associated with testing.”
The center was closed on Sept. 7 by the department of health and reopened on Sept 28. During its closure, the surgery center hired new staff and conducted training for the staff on sterile processing.
The center also cleaned and repaired the medical equipment during the closure.
“Although the risk of infection is low, out of an abundance of caution, HEALTHPLUS and the New Jersey Department of Health recommend patients get blood tests for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV,” NBC reported that the department said in a statement.
“The New Jersey Department of Health’s move to close the facility provided an opportunity to focus more intently on quality, safety and a consistent adherence to sound policies and procedures,” the center’s statement said.
“As a result, we have made significant improvements to ensure our patients’ safety and good health.”
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