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In brief: VA memo warns of HIV exposure

Mon., Jan. 14, 2013, midnight

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The Veterans Administration has told western New York members of Congress that more than 700 patients at the Buffalo VA Medical Center may have been exposed to HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C because of accidental reuse of insulin pens, according to a published report.

Authorities told the Buffalo News, which first published the report on its website Friday, there is a “very small risk” for the diabetic patients who may have been exposed to the reused insulin pens between Oct. 19, 2010 and November 2012.

The VA memo obtained by the News said the problem was discovered by a routine pharmacy inspection last Nov. 1.

In a statement to the Associated Press, Evangeline Conley, a VA spokeswoman, said the hospital “recently discovered that in some cases, insulin pens were not labeled for individual patients.” She added that “although the pen needles were always changed, an insulin pen may have been used on more than one patient.”

Conley said that once this was discovered the hospital took “immediate action” to ensure the insulin pens were being used according to pharmaceutical guidelines.

Insulin pens used by diabetics to inject insulin can be disposable or reusable with replaceable needles and cartridges. But according to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, even reusable pens should not be used on more than one patient.

The VA said it is offering free blood tests to rule out any infections.

McAfee moves to Portland

PORTLAND – Anti-virus software entrepreneur John McAfee has moved to Oregon hoping to complete a number of media projects about his life.

The 67-year-old told the Oregonian on Saturday that he will live in Portland for the next 18 months after fleeing Belize last year and is looking to buy a house or condominium.

He is collaborating with local illustrator Chad Essley on a graphic novel – a story in illustrations and word balloons – about his experiences in Belize.

The events of McAfee’s life last year have attracted international attention.

Authorities in Belize want to question McAfee as “a person of interest” in the Nov. 11 killing of an American expatriate, Gregory Faull. McAfee has denied any involvement.


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