Buffalo, NY (WBEN) Last week, Congressman Chris Collins said 18 patients at the Buffalo VA Hospital tested positive for hepatitis after it was discovered insulin pens were being re-used. As tests continue to determine if there's a correlation between the reused pens and the positive hepatitis tests, the hospital is taking steps to ensure this doesn't happen again.
VA Medical Director Brian Stiller admits there's room for improvement. "We saw we had opportunities for improvement of our nursing education program, so we added another nurse educator, and we just recently had a best practice nursing program come in, take a look around, and give us recommendations on how to kick it up a notch," says Stiller. Committees are also working together. "We've changed our membership and practices of our medical use and commodities committees and intertwined them more to make sure our risk assessments are completed and we're doing thorough evaluations with new drugs contained within the device coming to our center," he adds.
Stiller says the insulin pens themselves are being used less and less often, at least within the hospital. "The decision in VHA nationally as well as locally, was to only in five very specific instances permit the use of that pen on an inpatient unit as it's currently designed," says Stiller. "We still make the pen available on an outpatient basis because we do know insulin is the number one medicine for errors in dosage, and we know for our veteran population, if used properly, can ensure the correct dosage."