July 2014

Its time to bury the stigma attached to Hepatitis C

In this post, Evelyn shares her experience with stigma.

Its time to eliminate the stigma attached to Hepatitis C
Its time to eliminate the stigma attached to Hepatitis C

“We’re not going to tell anyone about this,” I whispered to my husband as my doctor exited the exam room after sharing very sobering news. For a year we kept quiet.

When I was diagnosed with Hepatitis C, I allowed stigma into my life. When a nurse at our oncologist’s office reused syringes during chemotherapy, I was one of 99 Nebraskans who were infected with hepatitis C. This diagnosis brought about intense feelings of shame, even though I had done nothing wrong. For a year, I was stunned, immobile.
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When will we learn from past mistakes?

Lauren is one of many Coloradans infected with Hepatitis C from a hospital outbreak in 2009.
Lauren is one of many Coloradans infected with Hepatitis C from a hospital outbreak in 2009.

On July 12th, the New York Post printed an article about some very disturbing issues at a VA facility in Albany. The article illustrates just how bad things can get in a hospital setting. These reports are atrocious.
http://nypost.com/2014/07/12/nurse-exposes-va-hospital-stolen-drugs-tortured-veterans/
But what continues to replay in my mind is the section which outlines a nurse diverting morphine. Apparently, this nurse was withdrawing the pain medication from vials and replacing it with a clear unknown substance. Could have be water or saline. The article states that over the past year this could have occurred more than 5,000 times.

Some 5000 opportunities for patients to go without their pain medication. Some 5000 opportunities to recognize this nurse’s actions and put a stop to it. And countless other patients and hospital employees put at risk. Read more

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