150 hospital patients to be tested over HIV risk

P-T patients called for testing after improperly sterilized endoscope used on AIDS carrier; risk of infection "close to nil."

Endoscope examination 370 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Endoscope examination 370
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
A failure in the sterilization of an endoscope used in the ear, nose and throat department at Petah Tikva’s Rabin Medical Center has necessitated the examination of 150 patients on whom it was used. One of the patients who was examined with the tube is an HIV carrier.
The medical center said on Sunday that management consulted with experts who recommended that all patients on whom the endoscope was utilized be assembled and tested to determine whether they were infected, but the possibility of the virus transfer was “close to nil.”
It decided to take the precautionary measure, the medial center said, and will reach conclusions on what went wrong and how to correct it. In the interim, it reported the incident to the Health Ministry.
“It is very unlikely that someone was infected, and the relevant patients should continue their routines,” the medical center said. Publication of the story was held up until all 150 patients received a personal letter from hospital management.
Hospital associate director Dr. Boaz Tadmor told The Jerusalem Post that such endoscopes, which are legally reused after sterilization, were used to search for polyps and other findings in the nasal passages.
“In this case, the sterilization was not performed completely. As the patient came with a letter identifying him as an HIV carrier, we took extra care, but there was a failure,” he said.
The 150 patients will be tested so that “we will calm them down and reassure them. We will take an HIV test now, and then again in two months. But there has not been such a case of HIV infection in medical literature,” said Tadmor.