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hospital may have exposed some to HIV

hospital may have exposed some to HIV

A California hospital was contacting some 300 obese patients after learning they may have been exposed to hepatitis or HIV by poorly cleaned instruments used in stomach-reduction operations.

Administrators at Scripps Memorial Hospital in San Diego said Wednesday the patients had been asked to take blood tests when it was discovered a nurse had failed to follow proper procedures for sterilizing the instruments.

"The risk [of infectious disease] is extremely low, but to be safe and take every precaution we are having blood drawn and tested, looking for HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C," Scripps spokesman Don Stanziano said.

Stanziano said state health officials were overseeing an investigation into the nurse's failure to properly sterilize an instrument called a gastroscope. The gastroscope, which is used in so-called stomach-stapling operations, requires a different sterilization process than most instruments because it cannot be exposed to high temperatures.

He said results of the blood tests would be available in two to three weeks. (Reuters)

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