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Cherokee Nation Recommends 186 Patients Be Tested For HIV And Hep C

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TAHLEQUAH, Oklahoma -

The Cherokee Nation confirms nearly 200 patients have been identified to be tested after a "nurse used the same vial of medication and syringe to inject more than one IV bag."

06/07/2018 Related Story: Oklahoma Man Tested For HIV, Hepatitis C Following Dental Procedure

So far, the tribe says 64 patients at WW Hastings Hospital have received their test results, and none have shown any exposure.

An employee at the hospital says she is one of those patients asked to get tested for HIV and Hepatitis C.

She says she's had two hand surgeries at Hastings one February of this year, and the other in November of last year.

"I was tested and it came back negative, but I was told I would need to, of course, come back and be tested again in around six months," said the employee.

She spoke with us anonymously, in fear of retaliation at work.

"It's extremely mind-boggling to even believe that because everyone that I have worked around is extremely professional, extremely careful."

In an email, a spokesperson for the Cherokee Nation said the 186 patients identified for testing were never directly in contact with any needle, adding:

"In all instances, medication was administered into an IV bag (or tubing).  The likelihood of bloodborne pathogens traveling up the lines into an IV bag or IV tubing to cause cross contamination from using the same syringe is extremely remote."

The employee we spoke with says she's most upset about how she was notified when she got a call about three weeks ago.

"She finally told me that my name, along with some others, had been put into a 'proverbial bucket,' as she called it, of people who may have been exposed to Hep C, HIV, due to a lapse of protocol at Hastings Hospital," she said.

The Cherokee Nation has not provided a timeline of how long the "lapse in protocol" lasted.

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