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Hundreds of Dialysis Patients Exposed to Disease

Pill Suicide

During a routine inspection of Baystate Medical Center by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, inspectors uncovered a worrying fact. This was that 575 dialysis patients could potentially have been exposed to pathogens.


This was because, an official report indicates, the hospital “failed to adhere to standard protocol.”


Moreover, the report indicated that many areas relating to core hygiene practices require correction, “including the use of proper signage, use of protective gloves, and enhanced documentation of dialysis operations.”


The 575 patients notified received treatments between Jan. 1, 2015, and Feb. 10, 2016 in the Wesson Building on the hospital’s main campus.


In response, medical staff at the facility have said that all affected patients are receiving a letter out of caution. The medics have added that they do not believe the majority of the patients will need any further testing, or are at risk any harm. However, a small proportion of patients are being advised to contact the hospital in case any further testing is required.


Here, Dr. Sarah Haessler, epidemiologist at Baystate Health is quoted as saying:


“While our evidence suggests that the risk is extremely low, the safest and most proactive course of action is to notify patients that there was a deviation from standard protocol and recommend that they follow up with their physician for consultation. We will take any measure necessary to ensure that our patients are safe. We’ve performed an exhaustive examination of records to ensure that all these patients are receiving letters and information relevant to their individual circumstances.”


This incident follows Baystate’s announcement back in February 2016 that poor cleaning of colonoscopy equipment at Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield may have exposed 293 patients to infection in 2012 and 2013. Noble was an independent hospital at the time.



About the author

Tim Sandle

Dr. Tim Sandle is a chartered biologist and holds a first class honours degree in Applied Biology; a Masters degree in education; and has a doctorate from Keele University.