Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dirty syringe scare in Alberta

HIGH PRAIRIE, Alta. — Up to 2,700 patients, including children, need to be tested for HIV and hepatitis because a handful of nurses in a northern Alberta hospital injected drugs with dirty syringes for nearly two decades.

Blood tests are being arranged for 1,300 patients who had endoscopy procedures at the High Prairie Health Complex over four years dating back to March, 2004.

Officials said fewer than five nurses were routinely injecting painkillers into intravenous lines with syringes that had already been used in lines attached to other patients.

As many as 1,400 patients who had dental surgeries at the same hospital dating back to 1990 also need to be tested, said Albert de Villiers, the region's medical health officer.

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