Canada dialysis scare leads to calls for HIV testing
June 12 2004 12:00 AM ET
Malfunctions detected in dialysis machines at Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, Canada, have led health officials to urge hundreds of kidney patients in the area to be tested for HIV and hepatitis B and C, the Victoria Times Colonist reports. Ten of 40 Aurora dialysis machines, made by Baxter, at the hospital were found to have blood contamination. A series of filters and barriers inside the machines are meant to prevent blood contamination, but medical microbiologist Pamela Kibsey says it's possible some blood may have collected in the machines and flowed back into other patients later using them. About 300 people who underwent dialysis at the hospital will be screened for blood-borne infections for the next six months. Hospital officials have alerted Health Canada, the national health department, about the machine malfunctions and the possibility that other Baxter dialysis machines used in the country could be exposing patients to blood-borne diseases.
Chicago-based Baxter on Thursday issued a global alert to all hospitals using its dialysis machines, the Canadian Press wire service reports. Baxter spokeswoman Cindy Resman says the company "has a huge team working on this" and will contact all its worldwide customers to ensure they are following the procedures in the dialysis machine user manuals.