Medical news are often dominated by reports of new discoveries, medical treatments or equipment, but when reports of outbreaks hit the news, many begin losing their faith in the industry.
According to a series of news reports, over 7,000 patients at a hospital in Utah may have been exposed to hepatitis C. Now, patients are being urged to come back to the hospital for a free testing.
The reports show that a nurse who had the disease came in contact with thousands of patients. But only half of those who were contacted are showing up to get tested.
According to the Utah Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, whenever two or more cases of hepatitis C-related infections are reported, the agency considers it an outbreak.
So far, seven people have tested positive. The final number of patients who developed the condition won’t be released until February or even March.
Patients who may have been exposed to hepatitis C after being in contact with the infected nurse are able to get tested for free at the two hospitals that employed the nurse until the end of January. Experts say that the nurse had a rare strain of the disease. At least two strains have been identified through the testing, the one the nurse had and a second variation. Patients who may have been exposed were treated at the hospitals between June 17, 2013 and November 25, 2014.
The nurse was allegedly fired for reportedly using medications illegally. She pleaded to a misdemeanor for possession of a controlled substance.
This is the first time a hepatitis C outbreak is reported in Utah. Similar incidents occurred before, most notably in Denver, CO back in 2009. The nurse tied to the Colorado outbreak was stealing drugs and replacing them with used syringes filled with saline.
Since the symptoms of hepatitis C can remain dormant for decades, it’s important that patients who may have been contaminated are tested immediately.
Unfortunately for many patients, certain outbreaks occur because of medical or staff error at hospitals and clinics. Patients are often exposed to risks because of negligence as well.
If you’re exposed to an infection or another health-related issue that was caused by a negligent third party, do not let that continue.
You have rights and you should not allow such injustices to continue.
You may follow this link to read more details about this particular outbreak.