A recent investigation carried out by New Jersey Department of Health found that employees of HealthPlus Surgery Center were not following standard sterilization process of medical instruments and patients. It has there for sent out medical warning to more than 3000 patients that were treated at its ambulatory services in New Jersey’s Saddle Brook region during period of Jan and September this year that they could have been exposed to pathogens that are present in blood. As the staff was not cleaning medical instruments as per prescribed sterilization procedures they could have exposed patients to health issues like hepatitis B, and C or even HIV.
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. Spokeswoman for New Jersey Dept. of Health Janelle Fleming stated that though infection risk is low both the clinic and DoH want to exercise utmost caution so has advised all patients to take tests for hepatitis B and C and even HIV to be on a safer side. As per press statement given by HealthPlus its surgery center offers surgeries for pediatrics, orthopedics, plastic surgery and pain management.
A directive issued by HealthPlus to its patients stated that it will pay all medical expenses for undergoing blood tests for infections that they could have contracted. As per NIH both Hepatitis B and C infections tend to start anywhere between two to six weeks after an individual has been exposed to infected blood though there are no telltale symptoms. Sometimes persons infected with Hepatitis B can become better without medication but others can become afflicted with liver and kidney issues. The letter apologized for the lapse in sterilization methods and directed patients to hospitals and clinics where they can get tested. The HealthPlus surgery division was closed in early September after the report and opened later after carrying out procedural changes.