Jan 17, 2018, 1:29 AM ET

New Hampshire hospital accidentally exposes patient to HIV, family says

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An 85-year-old New Hampshire man may have accidentally been exposed to HIV after a hospital mistakenly injected him with an insulin pen previously used on an HIV-positive patient.

Eugene Devoyd, 85, was at Southern New Hampshire Medical Center due to a medical emergency relating to his diabetes, among other ailments, when he was inadvertently injected with an insulin pen previously used on a patient with HIV, according to medical records from the hospital, which were shared with New Hampshire ABC-affiliate WMUR.

The nurse removed the needle from the pen, and used a new needle to inject Devoyd, according to the documents. The doctor informed the family of the mistake, and put Devoyd on antiviral medication later that day in an attempt to prevent an HIV infection.

"The same insulin pen that was used on an HIV-positive patient was used to inject Eugene, but with a different needle," the document says.

Devoyd's son, Chris Devoyd, told WMUR that he unintentionally pricked himself with a needle after checking his father’s blood sugar. He is now concerned for his own well-being, as well as his father's.

"I haven't heard anything from the hospital since he got out," Chris Devoyd told WMUR. "I thought maybe they would say sorry or maybe call and see how he was doing, but nothing. Not one thing."

Chris Devoyd believes he may have been exposed to HIV after pricking himself with a needle while testing his fathers blood sugar.WMUR
Chris Devoyd believes he may have been exposed to HIV after pricking himself with a needle while testing his father's blood sugar.

In a statement released Tuesday night, Southern New Hampshire Medical Center wrote that it cannot discuss individual treatment administered at the hospital, citing federal and state confidentiality laws. The statement did, however, say the facility is committed to preventing errors.

"Southern New Hampshire Medical Center has a long-standing record of delivering high quality, safe patient care, as demonstrated by our publicly reported measures," the statement reads. "What sets apart high-performing organizations is our commitment to reporting errors, analyzing the cause of the errors, and then implementing corrective action to prevent those errors from recurring. We embrace this philosophy, thereby aspiring to continuously improving our quality and safety outcomes."

Chris Devoyd said he and his father have been through an initial round of testing and both have come back negative for HIV so far.

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  • Thomas Simmons

    This is nothing more than hysteria and pseudo-science that only serves to stigmatize people with HIV. HIV can only be transmitted by infected semen or blood directly entering the bloodstream of another. Anyone who knows the slightest bit about diabetes and insulin would know that insulin injections are subcutaneous, and never enters the bloodstream. Ever.

  • Joseph Colorado

    Accidents are unavoidable errors and not something preventable.

    This is/was preventable and should not be described as accidental. Accidental doesn't mean it was a purposeful act ... this was negligence and not an accident.

  • Laurie Gagne

    Insulin pens clearly state that they are not to be used by more than one person. I don't understand why this hospital is not using syringes and vials to administer insulin. This is totally wrong on so many levels.

  • Lloyd Marcom

    This guys chance of contracting HIV from this incident is about as close to zero as you can get. Did the hospital screw up? Yep. Did they cause this guy SOME emotional harm? Maybe. The reality is, if you understand transmission and the virus at all, this is a hardly something to be concerned about. Even if they used the same pen and the same needle, the likelihood of transmission if there were any time between the sticks is still pretty low. Using an insulin pen is pretty different than using a syringe for shooting drugs (where the user often draws blood up into the syringe to make sure they are in a vein) and then someone else uses it without time for the blood to dry / degrade. HIV is a pretty fragile virus for all the damage it can do.

    He's on retrovirals so even if he were infected, it won't come to anything.

  • EastCoastGirl

    OH HELL NO! Is this really happening in hospitals?

  • Stonecrusher

    Hygiene protocol may have been lax, but the report says the son injected his father after pricking himself. Doesn't seem that hospital personnel were involved.

  • Charles_Heston

    So if they both test negative for HIV will they still sue?

  • Stonecrusher

    Patient has an unfortunate last name.

  • Quantez Williams

    Cynical, but they should be hoping the dad gets it. He's already lived a very long life and the HIV probably won't impact that. On the positive side, he'll get millions from the lawsuit.

  • Don'tBotherMe

    I should think and HIV-use products would have bright labels to identify it easier. That said, wouldn't she be required to show the patient he is receiving insulin from his own personal pen?

  • Siestasis42

    Hospitals always fall back on the federal rule not discuss a patients condition when they make life threatening errors. Yes you are not allowed to give out info on patients but you should be able to with the patients permission.

  • Realpshep

    Is that hospital that cheap that they re-use epi pen shells? Things used on HIV patients should be put in bio hazard containers immediately after use. No exceptions.