By Mike DeNardo
SOMERS POINT, NJ (CBS) — A South Jersey hospital is warning patients that they may have been exposed to infectious diseases.
Shore Medical Center in Somers Point has notified 213 patients that they should get tested for exposure to Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV.
The reason? A former pharmacist who was charged with stealing morphine in patient vials and replacing it with saline.
Hospital officials are concerned that IV patients between June of 2013 and September 2014 may have been exposed to an employee’s blood.
A spokeswoman for the state health department says although the risk of infection is low, the department is recommending that the affected patients get tested.
Brian Cahill, of Shore Medical Center, released the following statement:
‘We take patient care very seriously. Through our safety protocol, we identified inconsistencies in a former pharmacy employee’s work. We immediately suspended the employee and conducted a thorough internal investigation. At the conclusion of the investigation, the employee was terminated and we notified the proper regulatory agencies. The internal investigation process revealed the employee had tampered with some medications between July 1, 2014 and September 17, 2014. At this time, the patients involved were identified and notified. The authorities have commended us on our self initiated internal investigation and swift action in this matter, and we have received many accolades from industry watchdogs for our quality and safe medical care.
We have been working with public health authorities to determine if patients could have been exposed to blood borne pathogens at Shore through contact with this employee’s blood.
We have contacted all patients who received certain intravenous medications between June 1, 2013 and September 17, 2014. We are providing free testing and support through every step and are partnering with local health department agencies during this testing period in order to be extremely cautious.
Shore has also set up a dedicated call center for those patients and family members who may have additional questions.’
A hospital spokesman would not say whether any of the patients have tested positive for any of the diseases.