More than 60 test positive for hepatitis, but state finds no link to Dean Clinic incidentMore than 60 Dean Clinic patients and family members tested positive for hepatitis, but the state found no link to the diabetes nurse educator who mistakenly reused insulin devices.
By: By David Wahlberg, The Wisconsin State Journal, Superior Telegram
More than 60 Dean Clinic patients and family members tested positive for hepatitis, but the state found no link to the diabetes nurse educator who mistakenly reused insulin devices.
Of 1,779 people tested after possible exposure to hepatitis and HIV from 2006 to 2011, 66 had current or past hepatitis and none had HIV, according to a new report. The state found no evidence that the hepatitis B and C infections came from Stacey Anderson's reuse of insulin demonstration pens and finger stick devices.
Last year, Dean Clinic officials announced that the nurse had reused devices on patients at clinics on Stoughton Road and in Sun Prairie, potentially exposing 2,345 people to the blood-borne diseases. A second patient filed suit over the incident last week.
Dean spokeswoman Kim Sveum said the clinic is pleased with the state's finding of no link to the nurse. "Patient safety and compassionate care remain our highest priorities," she said.
An Aug. 7 letter from the state Department of Health Services to Dean, obtained Wednesday by the State Journal, says 37 of the 1,779 people tested have current or past hepatitis B infections, or HBV, and 29 have current or past hepatitis C infections, or HCV.
State investigators ruled out a connection between Anderson and the infections based on the timing of when and where the patients saw her and their past medical histories. She had told investigators she typically reused the devices for a month and didn't transport them between clinics.
"Based on this epidemiologic investigation, the (health department) found no evidence of transmission of HIV, HBV, or HCV associated with this incident of unsafe injection practices," Dr. Jeff Davis, chief medical officer for the department, wrote to Jennifer Close, vice president of operations for Dean.
With family members included, the total potentially exposed was 2,653 people, Davis said in his letter summarizing the state's investigation.
Of those, 1,888 people were eligible for testing; 43 of them declined testing.
Suit alleges infection
A lawsuit filed Aug. 14 in Dane County Circuit Court by Jefferey Anderson, of Kissimmee, Fla., alleges he was infected with hepatitis C by Stacey Anderson on or before April 30, 2007. Jefferey Anderson used to live in the Madison area and is being treated, said Jason Knutson, his Madison attorney. Knutson wouldn't say more about Anderson's medical status, and Anderson didn't respond to a request for comment.
Knutson said Anderson didn't have any symptoms of hepatitis before his treatment at Dean, and he "was not engaged in any behaviors that would put him at risk" more than the general population.
People at highest risk for hepatitis C include injection drug users, kidney dialysis patients and people who received blood transfusions before 1992, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
About 3.2 million Americans have chronic hepatitis C, a liver condition that kills about 9,000 people a year, the CDC says.
Roughly 1 million Americans have hepatitis B, mainly spread by unsafe sex, injection drug use, needle sticks and births to infected mothers.
In January, Knutson's law firm, Habush Habush and Rottier, filed a similar lawsuit on behalf of patient Keith Steffen of Monona.
Both lawsuits also name Dean's insurer, Midwest Medical Insurance Company, and Wisconsin's Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund, which covers payments of more than $1 million. They also name the Dane County Department of Human Services because it paid state health benefits for the patients.
The Wisconsin Board of Nursing reprimanded Stacey Anderson in May. The board also fined her $450 and made her pay to take classes on medical errors, infection control and exposure to blood-borne pathogens.
Anderson, who was fired from Dean, told the nursing board she let some patients give themselves a "dry stick" with the demonstration pens. Health officials say the pens are supposed to be used on oranges or pillows, not people.
Anderson said she replaced the needle of the pen and cleaned the pen with alcohol between patients, but sometimes let patients administer saline out of the same cartridge.
She couldn't be reached for comment. Her attorney, Robert Ebbe of Madison, wouldn't say if she is working anywhere.
In September, state inspectors found five expired glucose meter testing kits at the Stoughton Road clinic during an inspection prompted by Dean's announcement.
The expired kits could have led patients to incorrect insulin doses, but state officials said there is no evidence that occurred. Dean said it removed the expired kits and verified that no others were expired.
(c)2012 The Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wis.)
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