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Inmate pathogens: 'Improper use of insulin vile' puts inmates at risk

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Inmate pathogens is the latest concern at an Arizona prison after a nurse used improper procedures when injecting insulin. This left as many as 24 inmates possibly exposed to blood-borne pathogens, according to Bloomberg Business Week on Jan. 8.

The inmates possible exposure to pathogens in this state prison west of Phoenix is making headline news today. The incident was described by Clarisse Tang, who is the hepatitis prevention coordinator for the Arizona Department of Health Services:

"It was an exposure of blood-borne pathogens due to improper use of an insulin vial on a number of patients."

Ironically this is the same type of problem the prison system experienced in 2012. A nurse working for the health services the prison employed back then used the same insulin bottle for a number of inmates putting them at risk for a blood-borne pathogen.

The health service company, Wexford Health Services, was let go by Arizona’s prison system due to their mistake back in 2012. This is when the present day health service company, the Tennessee-based Corizon Health Inc. was hired.

Using the same vile of insulin on as many as 24 inmates, even though each was injected using a new needle could expose the inmates to the blood-borne pathogens that that the other may be carry. Using the same vile breaks the protocol and possibly exposed the inmates to viruses or blood-borne pathogens which could include HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.

The nurse who made this mistake was put on leave and it was the people from the Corizon Health Inc. that reported it to the prison system immediately. They are taking on the responsibility of following through with the 24 inmates as far as testing and any treatment that may be needed due to this mistake.

Susan Morgenstern, Corizon spokesperson, declined to provide the details of how this violation occurred. Spokesperson for the Arizona Department of Corrections, Doug Nick, also declined details, referring to this a medical event and saying that it Corizon who was handling the situation.