Patients may have been exposed to HIV, hepatitis, hospital warns

Here is yet another case in which patients may have been exposed to bloodborne pathogens as a result of tampering and substitution. This case is unusual in that it involves a pharmacist who tampered with injectables. – Kim New
By Matt Gray

SOMERS POINT — A South Jersey hospital is warning more than 200 patients that they may have been exposed to HIV or hepatitis as a result of alleged drug tampering by a former employee.

Shore Medical Center sent out letters last week to inform 213 patients who received intravenous morphine or hydromorphine medicines between June 1, 2013, and Sept. 17, 2014, that they could have been exposed to HIV or hepatitis B or C.

The letters follow an investigation of alleged drug tampering by an employee at the hospital.

“We have been working with public health authorities to determine if patients could have been exposed to blood borne pathogens at Shore through contact with this employee’s blood,” according to a statement issued by Shore Medical.

Frederick P. McLeish, 53, of Egg Harbor, who worked as a registered pharmacist at Shore Medical, was arrested in January after a year-long probe, according to the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office.

Authorities alleged that between July and September 2014, McLeish removed morphine from vials intended for use in preparation of intravenous solutions for patients and replaced the drug with saline solution.

He was charged with drug tampering, theft by unlawful taking and possession of a controlled dangerous substance and jailed on $20,000 bail on Jan. 21.

Published by – NJ.com

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