Buffalo VA Medical Center Reports Insulin Pens Were Reused

Buffalo (N.Y.) VA Medical Center notified Congress that insulin pens were reused at the hospital, putting more than 700 patients at risk for infection, according to a Buffalo News report.

The Buffalo VA Medical Center discovered and stopped the practice of reusing insulin pens Nov. 1; however, the Department of Veterans Affairs did not notify Congress or patients until Jan. 11, according to the report. Moreover, the misuse of insulin pens was not discovered by the hospital for two years, according to the report.

Evangeline Conley, a spokeswoman for the Buffalo VA Medical Center, told Buffalo News, "We wanted to make sure that we conducted a comprehensive review to identify all patients who may have been affected and develop an action plan to notify veterans and their families, so that we could address their concerns and provide all the information they needed."

Sen. Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.) and Rep. Brian Higgins (N.Y.) separately called on the inspector general of the VA to launch an independent investigation into the insulin pen reuse, which potentially exposed 716 patients to HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C, according to the report. The VA said the likelihood of infection is low, because the needles were not reused, according to the report.

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