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Nashua family faces HIV scare following reused insulin pen, wants answers from hospital

Union Leader Correspondent

January 16. 2018 11:44PM
 (KIMBERLY HOUGHTON/Correspondent file)

NASHUA — A local family is living in fear after an insulin pen used on an HIV-positive patient was then used on their 85-year-old father at Southern New Hampshire Medical Center — though the needle was replaced, according to medical documents.

Eugene DeVoyd, 85, was admitted to the hospital in November for diabetes complications when the incident took place, according to DeVoyd’s son, Chris DeVoyd. His father was immediately placed on anti-viral medication.

“My heart feels heavy for my dad,” the 57-year-old DeVoyd said Tuesday.

“I discussed with the patient, his wife and his son who were all in the room that the risk for this kind of exposure causing HIV infection is very, very small,” Dr. Geetika Sharma of SNHMC wrote in an infectious disease consultation memo that was provided to the Union Leader by the family; Sharma was not the physician who administered the insulin.

The nurse who used the same insulin pen but removed the needle and replaced it with a new one when administering it to DeVoyd was not identified in dozens of pages of medical transcripts provided to the family by the hospital.

“The risks exist only if there was any blood/bodily fluid exposure. The likelihood of that, with this scenario, is very, very small,” wrote Sharma.

To complicate matters further, Chris DeVoyd said he accidentally pricked himself while administering insulin to his father after he was discharged from the hospital in December. Chris DeVoyd has since been tested for HIV and the results were negative.

He has already filed two consumer complaints with the New Hampshire Board of Medicine about the incident, and is hoping to receive more answers about what took place at the hospital on Nov. 28.

Two antiviral medications were prescribed to Eugene DeVoyd following the insulin injection, and an initial blood test for HIV came back negative.

“In this day and age, how can this happen? No one expects this to happen when they go to the hospital,” said Chris DeVoyd.

“I want to know what protocols are being put into place and what else they are doing to prevent this from happening again,” he said.

The younger DeVoyd said he has not received any apology from the hospital.

Tate Curti, chief operating officer at SNHMC, said Tuesday in a statement that the hospital is committed to providing the highest standards of quality care and safety.

“Due to federal and state confidentiality laws and our utmost commitment to patient confidentiality, we cannot discuss individual treatment at our facility. If a potential issue arises, it would receive prompt attention, as well as a quality review, to determine all factors and to identify opportunities for improvement and corrective actions, as warranted,” said Curti. “Southern New Hampshire Medical Center has a long standing record of delivering high quality, safe patient care, as demonstrated by our publicly reported measures.

“What sets apart high performing organizations is our commitment to reporting errors, analyzing the cause of the errors, and then implementing corrective action to prevent those errors from recurring. We embrace this philosophy, thereby aspiring to continuously improving our quality and safety outcomes.”

Health Nashua

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