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Northwest Hospital warns that ex-employee may have exposed patients to hepatitis B & C and HIV

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SEATTLE — Northwest Hospital & Medical Center said Tuesday night that it had recently been notified by Seattle-King County Public Health that a surgical technologist employed at its hospital for three months in 2011-2012 may have exposed patients to hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.

“At this time, we have no evidence of patient exposure…,” the hospital said in a news release. “We believe the risk to patients is extremely low. However, out of an abundance of caution, Northwest Hospital has contacted the approximately 1,340 patients who had surgery at Northwest Hospital from December 30, 2011 to March 9, 2012 in an operating room where the technologist may have worked and asked them to be tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV.”

Patients who had surgery at Northwest Hospital between December 30, 2011 and March 9, 2012 are encouraged to call the Northwest Hospital hotline at (206) 368-1002 or toll free at 1-800-695-0654 to receive more information about how they may access free testing.

The surgical technologist was briefly employed at Northwest from December 30, 2011, to March 9, 2012, the hospital said, and is being investigated in Colorado for diverting and tampering with patient medications in such a way that it may have exposed patients to hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Patients are encouraged to call the Northwest Hospital hotline at (206) 368-1002 or toll free at 1-800-695-0654 to receive more information about how they can access free testing.