Things Are Changing!

The migration of TuDiabetes has begun

Content created between now and the launch of our new site on April 20th will NOT be moved to that new home, but our community values and Terms of Service still apply during this time.We are not accepting new members during this transition period. If you want to join the TuDiabetes community please send an e-mail to We will send you an invitation to join after the migration is completed.

Read about the migration and see images of the new site!

Long time since I've posted anything on here but I thought I should share this. Hospitals in West NY have been using insulin pens in multiple patients. Because of this, they are having over 2,000 patients be tested for bloodborne pathogens including HIV and Hepatitis.

I happened to be dx in Dec 09 and spent a week at Olean General Hospital in Olean, NY. I received a letter and went in to get my blood drawn earlier today.

The thing that made me most upset was the treatment I received today. The hospital was very unprofessional and treated me with no sincerity and no empathy at all. If anything they should be as apologetic as possible.

Yes, the chance of infection is minuscule but this is absolutely ridiculous that this practice was going on for over 3 years.

Here are the links to the news story.

I'm curious to hear people's reactions and if nothing else, make people more aware of the dangers of sharing insulin pens.

Thanks guys!

Views: 403

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I was sent a link to one of the articles above by a friend today. After 20+ years of constant advertising about the dangers of sharing syringes, the hospitals don't follow minimal safeguards. It's disgusting.

One more reason to keep control over your own blood glucose management if you ever find yourself in a hospital or medical setting.

I'm sorry that you were blown off today. That's pretty shocking - are they trying to get sued?


I think the chances are less than miniscule, assuming they changed needles. They did, right?

Yes but perhaps that's enough, for a lawyer ;-)

Well even if the did not, blood, fluids etc can still be drawn back into the vial following an injection leaving it contaminated.

This is a pen, not a syringe and vial. In my experience pens always drip after removal - meaning there is consistent positive pressure and therefore no draw back. If the needle is then removed and discarded, then I don't see any possible path into the pen's resevoir. This is based on my own observations; maybe I'm wrong. I just don't see it.

A class-action lawsuit is fully justified. This is not a case of too hot coffee. This practice has a real risk of bodily harm and is irresponsible and unprofessional. And this in the year 2013 - unbelievable.

Realistically, I don't see any path for a pathogen assuming a pen is used and the needle is discarded and replaced after each use. Could you explain why you think this could be dangerous?

In my experience the plunger mechanism of insulin pens is not as rigid as it should be. Normally the plunger can not revert but with the new pen designs that allow to dial-back this has changed. Thus the NovoPen4 for example must always be primed before use to make sure that the stamp is correctly aligned with the vial. Because of that you can not rule out that the vial might retract little amounts of liquid. I think this is especially true with hospital use on many patients for years. Obviously the hospital came to the same conclusion. I also think that all pens are certified for single person use only.

I believe a lawsuit is justified. If you look at the CDC website they clearly say not to share pens. "Insulin pens must never be used for more than one person. Regurgitation of blood into the insulin cartridge can occur after injection creating a risk of bloodborne pathogen transmission if the pen is used for more than one person, even when the needle is changed." Hope your tests turn out well.

Disgraceful! I'm stunned, but shouldn't be. They bother swabbing skin with alcohol, which does absolutely nothing, & then use pens on multiple patients.

Cheaper for them to use vials & syringes. Wonder whose brilliant cost-saving idea it was to reuse pens. Even with changing needles, if they actually did, that's not a safe practice.

Report how you treated to the hospital administrator.

thanks for all the replies everyone. this is what i was told...

yes the risk is very very small, however it IS totally possible for bodily fluids to be absorbed into the reservoir of the pen. Insulin pens have always and will always be designed for one person. In fact, they are supposed to be labeled in a hospital setting.

Again, I am guessing they are doing this more to "cover their butt" however the fact that this was common practice is absolutely disgusting.

I'll keep you posted as more comes out.

Out of curiosity; if the hospital changes the pen needle, nothing should happen right? Or does injection from a pen needle occasionally reverse bodily fluids into the insulin pen reservoir?

I want to give the victims of this mistake some hope, it's very scary to learn that over 2,000 patients possibly shared the same insulin pen. This is horrible, I hope the hospital involved gives some sort of compensation for their terrible mistake even if there happens to be no blood borne pathogens transmitted.




From the Diabetes Hands Foundation blog...

DHF Joins Diabetes Advocacy Alliance

Diabetes Hands Foundation is incredibly honored to join the Diabetes Advocacy Alliance, an organization with the drive and potential to affect a powerful, positive impact on diabetes and healthcare policy. Diabetes Advocacy Alliance is a 20-member coalition of leading professional Read on! →

Helmsley Charitable Trust Renews Support for DHF

HELMSLEY CHARITABLE TRUST GRANTS SUPPORT TO DIABETES HANDS FOUNDATION FOR FOURTH YEAR  Funding in 2015 to support major transitions in programs and leadership at Diabetes Hands Foundation BERKELEY, CA: February 18, 2015 – The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Read on! →

Diabetes Hands Foundation Team


Melissa Lee
(Interim Executive Director, Editor, has type 1)

Manny Hernandez
(Co-Founder, has LADA)

Emily Coles (Head of Communities, has type 1)

Mila Ferrer
(EsTuDiabetes Community Manager, mother of a child with type 1)

Mike Lawson
(Head of Experience, has type 1)

Corinna Cornejo
(Director of Operations and Development, has type 2)

Desiree Johnson  (Administrative and Programs Assistant, has type 1)


Lead Administrator

Brian (bsc) (has type 2)


Lorraine (mother of type 1)
Marie B (has type 1)

DanP (has Type 1)

Gary (has type 2)

David (has type 2)


LIKE us on Facebook

Spread the word


This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.

© 2015   A community of people touched by diabetes, run by the Diabetes Hands Foundation.

Badges  |  Contact Us  |  Terms of Service