Hospital asks some patients to get hepatitis C test

10:07 PM, Dec 30, 2013   |    comments
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FORT COLLINS - Poudre Valley Hospital mailed letters to 210 adults who were treated between Sept. 1, 2011, and Aug. 28, 2012, recommending they be tested for hepatitis C.

While there have been no reported cases of patients acquiring hepatitis C at the hospital and no evidence of harm to patients, PVH wants to ensure that these patients are absolutely safe.

Kevin Unger, PVH president and CEO, said the letter was mailed because a former employee suspected of recently diverting prescription painkillers may have, during the established time period, put some patients at risk for exposure to hepatitis C.

When PVH discovered the allegations of drug diversion, the employee was immediately suspended and has since been fired.

PVH and investigators from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment have confirmed between Sept. 1, 2011, and Aug. 28, 2012, the employee had or might have had hepatitis C. Poudre Valley Hospital has been working on this case with the CDPHE since early in November 2013.

"We're concerned," Unger said. "Some of the diverted medications were injectable narcotics that we believe were headed for the trash. We don't have any evidence that patients were harmed or infected with hepatitis C, but we want to be sure of that."

Hepatitis C is a blood-borne disease that affects the liver. Someone must have contact with an infected person's blood to contract the disease.

Letters have been mailed to 210 PVH ICU patients who received IV painkillers in the ICU during the established time period, and certain others who received these painkillers in connection with the ICU care team. Patients will receive free, confidential testing and are asked to be seen as soon as possible.

PVH will continue to keep the public and the Health Department updated as the investigation continues.

For more information, including details on hepatitis C, visit www.pvhs.org/hep-c.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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