Cherokee Nation: Nurse Involved In HIV, Hep C Scare No Longer Employed
TAHLEQUAH, Oklahoma - The Cherokee Nation confirms a nurse who they say administered medication incorrectly is no longer employed by the tribe.
The lapse in medical protocol affects nearly 200 people at W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah, and could have possibly exposed the patients to HIV and Hepatitis C.
Brian Hail, the CEO of W.W. Hastings Hospital, read a statement to the council but there are still a lot of questions he would not answer.
“We had a Lapse in protocol at Hastings hospital between January and April,” said Hail.
Hail briefed the council on that lapse Monday afternoon.
He said a nurse used the same vial of medication and syringe to inject more than one IV bag, possibly exposing close to 200 patients to infectious diseases like Hepatitis C or HIV.
“Patients were never directly in contact with the needle. The needle was administered into an OC bag or tubing,” Hail said. “The nurse responsible for lapse in protocol is longer employed by Cherokee Nation.”
Test results of 89 of the 168 patients have come back negative and all patients except 8 have been notified.
However, council members still had questions like whether or not the nurse’s license will be revoked.
“Don't know the answer to that,” Hail said.
And when asked what kind of disciplinary action was taken, Hail said he couldn't comment on employment issues.
Some Tribal Council members were upset at just hearing about this since it happened months earlier.
Others said constituents were contacted over the phone with very vague information and it frightened them.
The tribe has not released the nurse's name.
All of the patients affected are being offered free testing in 6 months.