Lawmakers Demand Review of Buffalo VA Hospital
Two Democratic members of New York’s congressional delegation are requesting an independent review of the Buffalo Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) after reports that improper use of reusable insulin pens there may have jeopardized the health of more than 700 diabetic patients.
The calls for an independent review of practices at the Buffalo VA hospital by the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Inspector General were made by New York Sen. Charles Schumer and Congressman Brian Higgins, reported the Associated Press (AP).
Last week the Veterans Administration said that some multi-use insulin pens may have been used accidentally on multiple patients at the Buffalo VA hospital, potentially exposing them to HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C. Hospital authorities told the AP that the needles were replaced after each use but the possibility of infection exists because bodily fluids may have flowed back into the insulin pens and been re-injected.
According to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, reusable pens should not be used on more than one patient.
The lawmakers are raising questions regarding such a practice going unchecked for two years (October 2010 to November 2012) and why the medical center waited two months before communicating the facts to the patients involved.
The Buffalo VA said it will offer free blood tests to all those who used the insulin pens during that period to rule out any infections, reports AP.
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