Washington Sleep Apnea Patients Fear Possible Exposure To HIV, Hepatitis

Washington Sleep Apnea Patients Fear Possible Exposure To HIV, Hepatitis
HIV Rapid Test Kit — Orasure Wheeler Cowperthwaite / Flickr CC BY 2.0

About 260 past patients at a hospital in Longview, Washington who were fitted dental device for sleep apnea might have been exposed to HIV as well as Hepatitis B and C.


Kirk Raboin, chief administrative officer of PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center, in an official statement released Tuesday, said that the hospital discovered the potential risk of infection after they conducted an internal review on the hospital’s infection-control practices. Based on the same review, past patients between Nov. 18, 2013, to Feb. 26, 2016 might have been exposed to the viruses.

The hospital statement, however, did not elaborate what causes the possible infection. But Raboin noted that the risk is “extremely low.” As of Tuesday, the hospital has already sent out notifications to past patients on the stated dates through certified mail.

“I apologize for the concern this might cause our patients, their families and our community. We take this very seriously. If you’ve received a letter from us, we are offering testing as a precaution, at no charge to you.” Raboin said, adding that despite the low risk of potential infection, “Still, we are acting with an abundance of caution because our highest priority is the health and safety of our patients.”

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With this, Raboin said the hospital is offering the patients a free HIV and Hepatitis (B and C) screening. Should the patients choose to be tested from other hospitals, Raboin said the hospital would shoulder the testing expense and reimburse the patients.

Affected patients are advised to get in touch with the hospitals at 844-804-7904 from Monday to Sunday at 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. To know more about the HIV and Hepatitis screening, information are available here.

Also Read: NJ Hospital Warns Patients of Possible HIV, Hepatitis Exposure

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