My heart skipped a few beats last week when I read about the potential outbreak resulting from a lack of safe infection control measures in a doctor’s office in Santa Barbara County. Things had been going fairly smoothly in regard to safe injection practices. In 2014, none of the investigations which took place found any disease transmissions. In fact, we had not had an investigation over the last six months and although we never stop educating and spreading awareness, we were able to breathe a small sigh of relief.
Then in early April, news spread of Dr. Allen Thomashefsky’s office being investigated because a new case of Hepatitis C had been reported in an individual with no previous risk factors. Once a team went in to investigate, they quickly found that due to a lack of safe injection practices infections may have occurred. It seems unfathomable, in 2015, there are healthcare professionals who are still not complying to basic best practices.
On March 19th, the Santa Barbara office was closed, but Dr Thomashefsky had an Oregon office. This office has since been restricted in its ability to administer certain injections.
So, yet again, letters have gone out from the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department informing patients they may have been exposed to Hepatitis or HIV. And yet again, patients wait patiently for blood tests to determine if they have been infected. And yet again, we lose a little more trust in the healthcare system.
Forgive me if I do not wait patiently as the investigation in Santa Barbara County continues and the blood tests slowly come in. I leave it to the professionals to find the cause, treat the sick and create a system to prevent this from happening again. But it is up to us, the general public, to speak out and demand for safer protocols to be put into place. To insist on better controls and harsher punishments for those who refuse to comply. To help our neighbors understand that we can make a difference if we simply gather together and demand change.
For those who are awaiting results, please seek the support you need from loved ones, medical or mental health professionals. As many have gone before you, there is plenty of support via the local County Health Department. http://cosb.countyofsb.org/phd
An information line has been set up to help answer questions (805) 681-4373.
You can also use HONOReform and the tools they have on their website as a resource as well as the One and Only Campaign.