July 2016

Eliminating Viral Hepatitis

Tom & Evelyn McKnight
Tom & Evelyn McKnight

“Ev, you have Hepatitis C. The lab test is postive, but I have no idea how you got it.”

My husband Tom said these words to me on February 8, 2002. And thus began my life with Hepatitis C.

Months later we learned that I contracted Hepatitis C through reuse of syringes during chemotherapy. The oncology nurse drew blood from my port, put the blood in lab collection vials and then used the same syringe to access a large saline bag. That same saline bag had been contaminated with a Hepatitis C+ patient’s blood during his port flush. In all, 99 people who were engaged in the fight of their lives to overcome cancer were infected with this second deadly disease.

I’ve learned alot about Hepatitis C since then. Around the world 400 million people are infected with hepatitis B and C, more than 10 times the number of people living with HIV. An estimated 1.45 million people died of the disease in 2013 – up from less than a million in 1990.

Recently we celebrated World Hepatitis Day. It is a day to remember those who have died from the disease, support those who currently have it, and work towards prevention. The theme for this year is “Elimination.” The World Health Organization announced a strategy for dealing with the world-wide epidemic of viral hepatitis.

This new WHO strategy introduces the first-ever global targets for the elimination of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C as public health threats. These targets include a 30% reduction in new cases of hepatitis B and hepatitis C, and a 10% reduction in mortality by 2020, and ultimately achieving even greater health impact by 2030. Key approaches to achieving these targets include:

  • expanding vaccination programs for hepatitis B;
  • preventing mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis B;
  • improving injection, blood, and surgical safety;
  • providing harm reduction services for people who inject drugs; and
  • increasing access to diagnosis and treatment for hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

These are lofty goals, but so necessary.

I am one of the lucky ones. After exhausting treatment, I have no detectable virus in my bloodstream. I am profoundly grateful. I choose to live my gratitude by advocating for safe injection practices so that no one else will hear the words, “You have Hepatitis C, but we have no idea how you got it.”

Think NoHep this World Hepatitis Day

World-Hepatitis-Day-2014

Today is World Hepatitis Day and this year’s theme is “Elimination.” The World Health Organization (WHO) recently adopted the first ever Elimination Strategy for Viral Hepatitis that calls for “rigorous application of universal precautions for all invasive medical interventions and promotion of injection safety measures…”

World Hepatitis Day is a great way to raise awareness about injection safety. Here are six ways you and your organization can get involved!

1. Read and share Dr. John Ward’s blog, “Think NoHep this World Hepatitis Day.”

2. Check out CDC.gov’s World Hepatitis Day Feature.

3. Connect with the One & Only Campaign and the World Hepatitis Alliance on Facebook and Twitter using the official hashtags #NOhep and #WorldHepDay.

4. Join the #NOHep Thunderclap to amplify the message on social media.

5. Pledge your support for the World Hepatitis Day campaign by sharing your organizations logo on the World Hepatitis Day webpage.

 

Announcing a new injection safety continuing education program

HONOReform

HONOREFORM’S LEARNING ACTIVITY PROGRAM

The Healthcare Learning Activitity Grant Program provides a quality continuing education presentation at low or no cost. HONOReform will provide a grant to organizations sponsoring

atJohnsHopkins

continuing education activities for healthcare professionals or consumer-focused activities.

Attendees will receive a flash drive containing the PowerPoint presentation, resources for injection safety, and the award-winning book: A Never Event: Exposing the Largest OUtbreak of Hepatitis C in American Healthcare History.

Description of Offered Programs
Healthcare providers in all types of settings have reviewed and followed safe injection best practices. Nonetheless, the “unthinkable” still happens, with significant impact on the patient and providers. The CDC estimates that there have been more than 50 outbreaks of Hepatitis C and/or Hepatitis B in the past decade due to reused needles, syringes or medication vials. Evelyn and Tom McKnight, founders of HONOReform, will share their own compelling story of infection attributed to reuse of syringes in a medical setting. Additionally, the McKnights will examine factors contributing to the outbreak and make recommendations for prevention.

1. “A Never Event – Don’t let it Happen in your Facility!”
A survivor describes a Nebraska “Never Event” in which 99 patients contracted Hepatitis C when a nurse reused syringes during chemotherapy administration. Root causes of the outbreak are examined as well as resources for prevention.

2. “Preventing Healthcare Transmission of Disease through injection Safety”
This presentation examines causes of patient-to-patient, patient-to-provider and provider-to-patient transmission of disease and offers resources for prevention.

3. “Injection Safety in Dental Practice”
Since 2012 thousands of patients have been put at significant risk of acquiring infectious disease from dental practices in four states. In one instance, the Colorado Department of Health notified 8000 patients that they were at risk for contracting Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV because their dentist’s practice reused needles and syringes. The McKnights will examine factors contributing to the outbreak and make recommendations for prevention in dental offices.

4. “Becoming an Empowered Patient”
Patients are learning that to receive the best quality healthcare, they need to effectively partner with their healthcare provider. A physician and a survivor of medical error discuss their own personal experiences of patient empowerment and ways to improve the physician-patient partnership.

For more information and to apply, go to Learning Activitiy Program

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It is my honor to highly recommend Dr. Evelyn V. McKnight as a speaker. I can think of no one better to present this information. Without a doubt, she exemplifies the motivation and goal-directed approach, in concert with the knowledge and passion to deliver this complex issue. Wanda O. Wilson, PHD MSN, CRNA, Executive Director, American Association of Nurse Anesthetists

Evelyn tells her story with compassion and purpose with the intention to educate listeners about the egregious unsafe practices that continue unabated in healthcare practice sites. I enthusiastically recommend Evelyn McKnight to any group seeking to educate and inspire its members! Janice M. O’Dowd, Certified Continuing Medical Education Professional, Kent Hospital, Warwick, Rhode Island

The McKnights put together an extensive slide show presentation, with multiple resources for further education. They provided tools for healthcare providers to use in their jobs to help educate other providers and present healthcare associated infections. … If you are looking for an engaging educational presentation for your next healthcare conference, I would recommend Tom and Evelyn McKnight. They were very well received, and did a wonderful job. Michele Maryanski, RN CIC, APIC New England Program Director

Our feedback following this course was absolutely outstanding! We hope that Evelyn will continue to educate the public and bring more awareness on safe injection practices so an event like this never happens again. Melissa Adams, Continuing Education Director, AZ Perio Dental Hygiene Study Club

 

 

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