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Connecticut hospital faces class action for allegedly reusing insulin pens

January 13, 2021

By Ayla Ellison | Becker's Hospital Review (January 12, 2021) -- A Superior Court judge in Waterbury, Conn., has certified class action status for a lawsuit against Griffin Hospital regarding the use of multidose insulin pens.

The lawsuit, filed by former patients in 2016, alleges nurses at Derby Hospital in Griffin, Conn., reused multidose insulin injection pens on multiple patients between 2008 and 2014. The injector pens are meant to provide multiple doses of insulin to a single patient. Using the same pen on multiple patients potentially exposed thousands of patients to blood-borne pathogens, the lawsuit alleges. The disposable needles inside the pens were not reused.

"Although multi-dose insulin pens utilize single use needles, the cartridge of insulin itself can be contaminated through the backflow of blood or skin cells from a patient, and thus could potentially transmit an infection if used on another patient," the law firm representing the plaintiffs said in a Jan. 6 news release.

The lawsuit alleges the multiuse injector pens were improperly used on thousands of patients. The lawsuit was filed after hospital officials sent a letter in 2014 to about 3,100 patients explaining that insulin pens ordered for patients hospitalized between September 2008 and May 2014 had been misused.

The certification by the judge allows the lawsuit to proceed as a class action and opens it up to at least 3,000 people, according to the Valley Independent Sentinel.

Regarding the lawsuit, the hospital released the following statement to the Valley Independent Sentinel.

"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. 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."

The hospital said it will continue to defend against the claims being made.

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