Patients told of HIV infection fears
24 February 2005, AMSTERDAM — A hospital in the central Dutch city of Apeldoorn has informed patients who underwent endoscopic examinations recently that faulty equipment has left open the "minimal risk" they were infected by HIV and Hepatitis B and C.
24 February 2005
AMSTERDAM — A hospital in the central Dutch city of Apeldoorn has informed patients who underwent endoscopic examinations recently that faulty equipment has left open the "minimal risk" they were infected by HIV and Hepatitis B and C.
The Lukas section of Gelre Hospital issued a statement on Thursday to say it had asked 57 patients to come in for testing.
The group underwent stomach and intestinal examinations with an endoscope on 15 and 16 February. An endoscope is an instrument used for examining the interior of a bodily organ such as the colon, bladder or stomach.
The hospital said it subsequently discovered that a machine used to clean the endoscope after each examination was defective. As a result it was not possible to determine whether the endoscope had been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected prior to each examination in accordance with established guidelines.
Gelre said it had contacted the patients in question by phone and letter to warn "infection by micro-organisms that are transmitted by blood" could not be totally ruled out.
"Although the chance of transmission is minimal the patients involved will be given precautionary tests for infection by HIV, the virus that can cause Aids, the Hepatitis B virus and the Hepatitis C virus," the hospital said.
Because of the incubation period between possible infection and the appearance of symptoms, the blood tests will have to be repeated in three months time. "This means by the end of May, it can be established if the patients who underwent the endoscopic examinations have actually contracted an infectious illness."
There have been similar scares at Dutch hospitals in recent years. The largest reported incident in recent times occurred at the Martini Hospital in Groningen in 2003 when a defect cleaning device led to 500 patients undergoing examinations with dirty cystoscopes.
The hospital recalled the urology patients to undergo blood tests in February 2003 and the whole group was given the all clear nine months later.
[Copyright Expatica News and Novum Nieuws 2005]
Subject: Dutch news