A local hospital in Somers Point has issued an advisory warning its past patients who may have been exposed to HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C, a report shows.
This advisory was made after a joint investigation conducted by the management of the Somers Medical Center and prosecutors’ office at Atlantic City. Authorities found that its former pharmacist had tampered vials of morphine to make it look like saline.
According to a report from a local paper Press of Atlanta City, the registered pharmacist Frederick P. McLeish allegedly tampered saline solutions, which are to be administered to patients intravenously, to sneak out morphine. It was not clear whether the 53-year-old suspect is positive for HIV and the two types of Hepatitis disease.
Upon learning the medicine-tampering incident, the hospital administration has been contacting its patients over the past years, especially those who receive intravenous treatment sometime from June 1, 2013 to Sept. 17, 2014, the hospital said in an official statement. It also sets up free testing and help desk to those who will come to the hospital for the same concern in coordination with other agencies of the state.
“Although the risk of infection is low, out of an abundance of caution, the Department of Health is recommending that affected patients receive testing for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV,” state health department spokesperson Dawn Thomas was quoted as saying by the Press of Atlanta City.
Thomas added that even if the risk is relatively low, they would recommend that anyone who received intravenous medication from the hospital during the stated period should seek screening for the dreaded infections. The local health bureau and the county’s prosecutor’s office are still doing a continued investigation on the matter.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are at least 1.2 million Americans living with HIV. Of which, around 12 percent are unaware that they’ve got virus, CDC added.