After a state investigation revealed unsanitary conditions at an outpatient surgery center in northern New Jersey, thousands of patients who were treated there have been advised to get their blood tested, CBS News reports.
The HealthPlus Surgery Center, located in Saddle Brook, NJ has contacted a jaw dropping 3,778 patients who received procedures between January and September 7 of this year that they may have been exposed to infections such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and HIV.
“During this time period, lapses in infection control in sterilization/cleaning instruments and the injection of medications may have exposed patients to bloodborne pathogens,” the center wrote in a letter to patients.
Officials shut down the facility from September 7 through September 28 after it was discovered that proper protocols were not being followed by the surgery center’s staff.
In response to these findings, the surgery center asserts that it has cleaned and repaired all of its instruments, improved its infection control and medication dispensing procedures, hired new staff and trained them on proper sterile processing.
And even though the risk for infection is low, health officials urge those who have been exposed to get tested for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C to ensure their health and well-being.
“It is important to note that to date, there have not been reports of any infections or illness related to the investigation. However, HealthPlus and the New Jersey Department of Health are recommending that those patients get tested as soon as possible,” HealthPlus Surgery Center Administrator Betty McCabe said in a statement. “We recognize that this may be upsetting to our patients, and we are taking this matter very seriously and taking steps to assist them during this process.”
Additionally, patients have the option to schedule a blood test at no charge to them, which will be covered by HealthPlus.