Reused insulin pens putvets at risk in Buffalo

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The Associated Press

BUFFALO -- More than 700 patients at the Buffalo Veterans Administration Center may have been exposed to HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C because of the accidental reuse of insulin pens, according to a hospital statement and published reports.

Authorities told The Buffalo News there is a "very small risk" for the diabetic patients who may have been exposed to the reused insulin pens between Oct. 19, 2010, and November 2012.

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The VA also notified western New York members of Congress of the possible exposure.

In a statement to The Associated Press, VA spokeswoman Evangeline Conley said the hospital "recently discovered that, in some cases, insulin pens were not labeled for individual patients." She added that "although the pen needles were always changed, an insulin pen may have been used on more than one patient."

Conley said that once this was discovered the hospital took "immediate action" to ensure the insulin pens were being used according to pharmaceutical guidelines. The VA said it is offering free blood tests to rule out any infections.

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