October 11, 2002
Crutcher said the nurse drew enough medication into a syringe to treat multiple patients seen at the clinic on the same day. Hill then used that syringe with the same needle to inject a small dose of medication into the port of an intravenous line that had been inserted into the arm of each patient.
Since a patient's blood can easily back up into intravenous line ports, nurses and doctors are supposed to use needles only once to avoid disease transmission. Crutcher said he does not believe Hill intended to cause any harm. He said Hill's actions, which came to light last month, resulted from a misunderstanding of proper procedures.
Norman Regional spokesperson Karen Carraway said 300 patients treated at the clinic this year have been tested, and 52 were positive for hepatitis C. The hospital is advising another 500 people treated at the clinic since it began operations in 1999 to seek testing. The hospital also suspended the privileges of the anesthesiologist running the clinic, Dr. Jerry W. Lewis, and barred Hill from working there. Crutcher said the Oklahoma Board of Nursing was also investigating Hill. A number of those infected have filed lawsuits against Hill, Lewis and Norman Regional.
New York Times
10.10.02; Barry Meier
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