186 patients potentially exposed to HIV, hepatitis C at Oklahoma hospital

A nurse at Tahlequah, Okla.-based W.W. Hastings Hospital improperly administered medication through a reused syringe, potentially exposing 186 patients to HIV and hepatitis C, according to the Cherokee Phoenix.

The nurse, whose identity remains anonymous, used the same vial of medication and syringe to inject more than one IV bag, according to a spokesperson for Cherokee Nation Health Services, which operates the hospital.

While the likelihood of infection is small, because patients were not in direct contact with a needle, the hospital is still recommending the 186 patients receive testing.

"Out of an abundance of caution and concern, and after consulting with our infectious disease specialist, we recommended those patients return for laboratory testing as a precaution and for our patients' peace of mind," the spokesperson from Cherokee Nation Health Services told the Cherokee Phoenix.

So far, 64 patients have returned to the hospital for blood tests, and none showed exposure.

It is unclear whether the nurse involved has been removed from the hospital.

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