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There was an interesting press conference in St Cloud this week. As was reported by the St Cloud Times:

A St. Cloud Hospital nurse is suspended pending an investigation into claims that the nurse inadvertently introduced bacterial infections into 23 patients while stealing pain medication from patients’ IV bags for personal use.

A scary story, where the nurse is alleged to have been using a syringe to withdraw drugs and was leaving behind saline or air, the old idea of watering down stolen alcohol so no one would notice. It is bad enough that prescribed medicine was being cut, but it has also been found that Ochrobactrum anthropi and Klebsiella oxytoca bacteria was left behind, creating infections that aren’t usually found in people.

The story indicates that there were "hundreds" who were patients during the time. Which makes you wonder if the number of infected people is suspect? Is this just the people who have come back to be treated?

The solution being offered is that people can call the Quality Resources Department. From what I understand, the call involved the patient being asked a lot of questions and being provided no information.

There clearly seems to be a major health risk hazard here that needs to be addressed fully and with a eye toward making sure all patients are safe and protected. Too many parties spend time worrying more about image and liability at times like this. The press conference may or may not be a step in the right direction depending upon what the facts disclose.

– Th questions that need to be answered include:

– How long did this go on? It seems that October through the end of the year at a minimum.

– Was it reasonable to wait until March to have the press conference?

– Have all potentially harmed patients been identified?

– What are the long term consequences as far as those injured and changes that the hospital will undertake to deal with the problem?

The response to the answers will tell a lot about if everything is being done to correct the problem and to ensure the safety of all patients.

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