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January 11, 2021
By Rich Scinto | Patch | DERBY, CT (January 11, 2021) — A Superior Court judge has certified class-action status for a lawsuit against Griffin Hospital and Griffin Health Services regarding the use of multi-dose insulin pens.
The lawsuit alleges that the pens that are meant for one patient were used by medical personnel on multiple patients. The misuse of pens at the hospital was caused by institutional failures, including a lack of appropriate procedures and training, according to the lawsuit.
Griffin Health Services held a news conference in 2014 about the insulin pen misuse.
The pens are meant to be used on only a single-patient. Needles for the devices are single-use, but backflow of blood or skin cells can backflow into the pen and potentially infect another person, according to Griffin's 2014 statement.
Around 3,100 hospital patients were ordered insulin pens between Sept. 1, 2008 and May 7, 2014, according to a hospital news release. The hospital notified patients via mail and offered screening for HIV, and hepatitis B and C.
At the time hospital officials said that the risk of disease transmission is believed to be minimal.
The lawsuit was originally filed by Anthony Diaz, Bruce Sypniewski and Daiy Gmitter. They are being represented by attorneys Ernie Teitell and Marco Allocca with Silver Golub & Teitell LLP.
Notice to potential class-action members will likely occur sometime in the spring or summer of 2021 after court approval, according to a statement from Silver Golub & Teitell.
Griffin Hospital declined to comment on the ongoing litigation.
"Griffin has been open and transparent about the events relating to the prior use of insulin pens from the time the hospital voluntarily came forward in 2014," said Todd Liu, vice president of accountable care and general counsel for Griffin in a statement. "Griffin's first priority was ensuring that people potentially exposed were notified, safe, and given the opportunity to be tested, which Griffin initiated and did at its expense. Griffin voluntarily disclosed what occurred in its letter to individuals potentially affected."
Superior Court Judge Linda Lager defined potential members of the class action lawsuit as:
All patients of Griffin Hospital, located in Derby, Connecticut, for whom a multi-dose insulin pen was prescribed during their hospitalization between September 1, 2008 and May 7, 2014 and to whom insulin was administered from a multi-dose insulin pen, who received a notification letter from Griffin Hospital dated May 16, 2014 and who subsequently underwent testing for Hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).