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Long Island hospital warns patients of possible blood contamination

The hospital is sending letters to 4,247 patients and recommending that they be tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. (Credit: Facebook/South Nassau Communities Hospital) The hospital is sending letters to 4,247 patients and recommending that they be tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. Credit: South Nassau Communities Hospital

A Long Island hospital is recommending thousands of patients to get tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV due to possible blood contamination involving the use of an insulin pen.

Newsday reported that South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside is sending letters to 4,247 patients who may have received insulin from an insulin pen that may have been used on more than one patient.

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While no one observed the insulin pen reservoir being used on more than one patient, a nurse was heard saying it was OK to do so.

"Once that was said, we then followed through with a report to the state Department of Health," hospital spokesman Damian Becker told Newsday.

The hospital said the risk of infection is "extremely low."

"Nonetheless, out of an abundance of caution, the hospital is recommending that patients receiving the notification be tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. While the testing is voluntary, it is recommended," the hospital said.

The hospital is offering free and confidential blood testing and has set up a dedicated telephone line for affected patients. The number is 516-208-0029.

South Nassau has now banned the use of insulin pens and is only permitting the use of single-use vials.

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