More than 3,000 patients in NJ possibly exposed to HIV, hepatitis

CBS New York studies the HealthPlus Surgery Center in Saddle Brook is alerting 3,778 sufferers that they might have been uncovered to infections.

Luckily there were no infections that could be traced back to the protocol lapse and according to health department of the state all affected patients have been notified.

After the investigation, the state closed the surgery center for three weeks before re-opening with a mission statement detailing "significant improvements" to their policies and procedures. The Department of Health closed the center from September 7 to September 28.

An investigation by the New Jersey Department of Health revealed that during this time period, deficiencies in infection control in both our sterilization/cleaning of instruments and the injection of medications may have exposed patients to blood borne pathogens (diseases in people's blood), such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

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In an email, the surgery center administrator, Betty McCabe, said the center is "focused on helping this select group of 3,778 patients get tested quickly and expediently".

As of Wednesday, there are no known illnesses that have resulted from the infection control issues. "We acknowledge that this can be upsetting to our sufferers, and we're taking this matter very significantly and taking steps to help them throughout this course of". It has also hired new staff and trained them on sterile processing, CBS News reported. Its instruments have all been cleaned and repaired and its infection control and medication dispensing procedures improved.

Patients will be able to schedule a blood test at no charge, paid for by HealthPlus.

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