Patients in Denver Area Notified of Possible Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens

Swedish Medical Center recently identified a potential drug diversion by a former employee, which prompted an immediate and thorough investigation involving several regulatory agencies. The hospital says it is working closely with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment on an investigation of the actions of that former employee who may have put some surgery patients at risk for exposure to HIV, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C, viruses that can potentially cause long-term health concerns.

At this point the hospital says it has no evidence of any patient exposure; however it is taking a position of extreme caution by offering free testing to all patients who had surgery at Swedish Medical Center in locations where this individual worked at any time during this individual’s employment, including those days the employee was not on the schedule or in the facility.

Approximately 2,900 patients who had surgery at Swedish Medical Center between Aug. 17, 2015 and January 22, 2016 are receiving calls and letters to notify them of the potential for exposure and to request that they take a free, confidential blood test to screen for these viruses. "We are taking these extensive measures to ensure the safety of our patients, our staff, and our community," the facility says in a statement.

“We appreciate the cooperation we have received as we work through our investigative process,” says Dr. Larry Wolk, executive director and chief medical officer at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. "We join Swedish Medical Center in prioritizing patient safety as we work collaboratively through this situation."

“We deeply regret that one of our former employees may have put patients at risk, and are sorry for any uncertainty or anxiety this may cause,” says Richard A. Hammett, president and CEO of Swedish Medical Center. “Please know our first concern is the health, care, safety and privacy of our patients and we are working diligently to look after the wellbeing of the patients who may have been affected by the wrongful actions of this individual.”

Patients who are being notified had surgery between Aug. 17, 2015 and Jan. 22, 2016 in the main operating rooms and in the orthopedic operating rooms on Oct. 28, 2015. Patients NOT included in this notification:
•5th Floor GYN Operating Rooms
•3rd Floor Interventional Suites in Radiology and Cardiology
•3rd Floor GI Lab
•Swedish Orthopedic Center EXCEPT for surgeries on October 28, 2015 and the final patient on October 17, 2015.

The Swedish Patient Care Call Line can be reached at 303-728-7140.  If you have been notified that you require a blood test, contact LabCorp at 1-888-522-2677 for details.

Source: Swedish Medical Center