Source: Salem Hospital/Facebook
In a concerning revelation, Salem Hospital announced that approximately 450 patients who underwent endoscopy procedures at their facility might have been incidentally exposed to serious infectious diseases, including hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV.
The potential exposure at the hospital, which lies about 20 miles from Boston, was said to have occurred over two years, ABC News reported.
Endoscopy involves inserting a tube-like instrument into the body for internal examination. Procedures such as bronchoscopies, colonoscopies, and laparoscopies fall under this category.
The hospital identified the issue during the administration of IV medications, stating that they were administered “in a manner not consistent with our best practice.”
The incidents were first acknowledged earlier this year, leading to immediate corrective measures and reviews by the hospital’s quality and infection control teams. However, specific details regarding the nature of the exposure and the subsequent corrections made remain undisclosed.
“Salem Hospital has notified all potentially impacted patients, set up a clinician-staffed hotline to answer questions, and we are providing them with free screening and any necessary support,” the statement read. “There is no evidence to date of any infections resulting from this incident.”
Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) as conducted an onsite investigation at Salem Hospital and collaborated with the hospital’s infection control team to manage the situation effectively.
“DPH advised the hospital to notify all impacted patients in writing about the potential exposure to bloodborne pathogens and to offer free-of-charge follow-up care, including testing,” the department said.
A spokesperson for Mass Brigham, which owns Salem Hospital, extended an apology to those affected, emphasizing their ‘commitment to patient safety and high-quality healthcare.’
“The safety of our patients is our highest priority, and we have undertaken multiple corrective actions in response to this event,” the statement from Mass Brigham read. “We sincerely apologize to those who have been impacted, and we remain committed to delivering high-quality, compassionate health care to our community.”