Second NY Hospital Warns: Possible HIV Infection From Insulin Pens

A second New York hospital has issued a warning to over 1900 patients who may have been exposed to HIV from insulin pens. Olean General Hospital has also warned that patients may have also been exposed to Hepatitis B and C.

Olean General Hospital was alerted to the possible issue when another New York hospital announced last week that up to 700 of their patients may have been exposed to the same deadly infections. Both hospitals have admitted that they had been reusing the pens to inject insulin into diabetes patients.

As reported by, the insulin pens at Buffalo Veterans Administration Center were reused during a two week period last year between October 19th and November 1st. Nearly 700 patients received the injections during that time. The hospital is offering free blood tests to patients who may have been exposed.

Olean General Hospital conducted an internal investigation and discovered that they had been reusing insulin pens on patients for over two years. As reported by CBS News, the hospital has sent notification to over 1900 patients alerting them to the possible exposure and offering free blood tests.

Both hospitals admit that reusing insulin pens is not a standard or preferred procedure. The problem may have stemmed from failure to include patients’ names on the pens. Some insulin pens contain multiple doses, but are meant to be used on the same patient every time.

CBS News reports that unsafe injection practices are a very serious issue:

“More than 150,000 patients have been impacted by unsafe injection practices since 2001, according to CDC, causing irreparable damage by exposing patients to blood borne illnesses, such as hepatitis and HIV, and to life-threatening bacterial infections.”

Hospital administrators contend that the risk of contracting HIV and other diseases from the insulin pens is rare, but have offered an apology to their patients for the mistakes that were made.