KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
4:32 PM EDT, July 16, 2013
(NEOSHO COUNTY, Kan.)
Dozens of patients who received colonoscopy procedures at a Chanute hospital may have been exposed to hepatitis and the HIV virus.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said 244 patients may have been exposed to the viruses at Neosho Memorial Regional Medical Center between January 3 and July 3 of this year.
In a report released Tuesday, health officials said the procedure to disenfect one type of endoscope was not adequate. All scopes were immersed in a sterilizing agent before each new patient case, but the auxiliary water channels were never used. Infection Control specialists consider the risk of any infection transmission in these cases to be extremely low. Each of the illnesses, when identified early, can be treated with medication, the hospital said.
The hospital will be providing blood tests to notified patients at no charge. Blood samples will be sent to the KDHE lab for analysis. Results will be available in a couple of weeks.
Patients may submit a blood specimen at Neosho Memorial Laboratory or the Neosho County Health Department. A special telephone hotline has been established at NMRMC for patients who are concerned about potential exposure to hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV. Concerned patients can speak with a healthcare provider by calling (620) 432-5493 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.