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Good Samaritan Hospital notifying patients of possible Hepatitis C exposure

PUYALLUP, Wash. -- Certain patients treated at MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital are being notified of potential exposure to Hepatitis C.

Two patients who were treated in December likely contracted the disease while being treated in the Emergency Department, hospital officials said.

According to a press release, a nurse admitted to stealing narcotics intended for patients. She tested positive for hepatitis C and treated both of the infected patients.

"Good Samaritan and local and state health department officials have conducted a thorough investigation and determined that one of our nurses was removing higher-than-normal amounts of narcotics from our dispensing system and admitted to diverting medications intended for patients," the hospital said in a statement. "She tested positive for Hepatitis C and had treated both of the patients we know are infected. Hepatitis C is most commonly transmitted by exposure to an infected person’s blood through shared needles. The nurse no longer works for MultiCare."

The hospital is notifying about 2,600 patients treated in the Emergency Department between Aug. 4, 2017 and March 23, 2018 who received injections of narcotic, antihistamine or sedatives about the possibility of exposure. MultiCare is recommending free testing for Hepatitis C and other communicable diseases.

The hospital said this is an isolated situation and patients who do not receive notification letters are not at risk.

The group at risk represents about 5 percent of the 54,000 patients who visited the ER during this time period.

“We deeply value the trust of our community, and apologize for the worry this will create. We have taken extensive measures to identify anyone who may have been at risk for exposure, out of interest for the health and safety of our patients and the community,” said Chris Bredeson, President and Chief Operating Officer of Good Samaritan. “We remain committed to the highest standards of patient care and are working to make sure the affected patients are supported and have the information they need.”

Click here for more details from MultiCare.