After what tribal officials described as "a brief lapse in protocol," Cherokee Nation's W.W. Hastings Hospital confirmed it is testing several patients for HIV and Hepatitis C.
Brian Hail, Hastings CEO, notified CN Health Services staff via email Friday evening that the hospital's medication diversion prevention program discovered "A nurse was administering medications incorrectly."
"The nurse used the same vial of medication and syringe to inject more than one I.V. bag," Hail wrote. "Patients were never directly in contact with any needle. In all instances, medication was administered into an IV bag (or tubing). The likelihood of bloodborne pathogens traveling up the lines into an IV bag or IV tubing to cause cross contamination from using the same syringe is extremely remote. Out of an abundance of caution and concern, and after consulting with our infectious disease specialist, we recommended those patients return for laboratory testing as a precaution and for our patients' peace of mind."
According to reports, Grove resident John Wagnon was contacted earlier this week by the hospital about receiving a blood test to check for possible HIV or hepatitis C infection, after he had undergone a dental surgery earlier this year.
There are a number of ways people could contract HIV or HCV, including from equipment not properly sanitized, shared needles, or improper use of needles and other equipment. However, Wagnon told News On 6 that results of the test came back Wednesday, and that he tested negative for both.
The tribe has taken steps to eliminate HCV in the Cherokee Nation community over the past few years, as it collaborated with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The University of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma State Health Department to start its own HCV elimination program in 2015.
"All I want is for someone to call me and say, 'Hey, we messed up,'" Wagnon told News On 6. "'Here's what happened, and here's what we did to fix it.' That's all I want."
The Cherokee Nation released a statement to the TV station. Contacted by the Daily Press earlier Friday, a tribal spokeswoman said there was nothing more to add to that statement.
"There was a brief lapse in protocol at W.W. Hastings Hospital earlier this year. There are no indications patient health care was compromised, but out of an overabundance of caution, some patients were asked to return for testing," the statement reads. "Test results from every patient thus far have shown no harmful exposure, and have reinforced out belief that patient health is not at risk. Cherokee Nation Health Services is the largest tribally operated health care system in the United States, seeing more than one million patient visits per year with many accreditations focusing on continuous quality improvement, including many involving integrity and continuity of care. Our doctors, nurses and other health care professionals provide diligent, compassionate care during those one million annual patient visits, and we will continue to put patient health, safety and peace of mind first."