According to a press release from Goshen Health, about 1000 surgical patients at Goshen Hospital in Indiana, USA, may have been exposed to HIV, hepatitis C and hepatitis B due to an error in the sanitizing procedure for surgical equipment.  Liz Fisher, the marketing specialist for Goshen Health, says, a technician missed one step in a multistep cleaning process, which most likely contaminated the surgical equipment. A total number of 1,182 surgical patients were identified by the hospital between April and September of 2019 who may have been impacted, according to Fisher. Notification letters were sent to all those who have been exposed and are being offered free testing for the viruses, according to Fisher.

Hepatitis C which is a liver infection caused by a blood-borne virus and is usually spread by sharing needles or equipment to inject drugs, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Hepatitis B is also a liver infection caused by a blood-borne virus but is spread when bodily fluid is passed from an infected person to a non-infected person, according to the CDC. HIV — human immunodeficiency virus– weakens a person’s immunity system by destroying important cells that combat disease and infection.

The hospital maintains that those patients who may have been affected constitute a “small subset,” and that the risk of exposure is “extremely low,” and a free testing for the viruses is being offered “out of an abundance of caution” and anyone who is affected will be critically handled.

The hospital’s president and chief medical officer released a November 20th health update which says “While our sterile processing and infectious disease experts believe that the potential transmission of blood borne viruses between patients is extremely remote, out of an abundance of caution, we want to verify through lab blood tests that patients have not been harmed.’’