Denver, Colorado – It is believed that about 2,900 patients that underwent surgery at Swedish Medical Center from August 17th, 2015 to January 22nd, 2016 are receiving notices that they should undergo emergency testing for HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.
This notice stems from a current investigation into a former surgical technician that worked at Swedish Medical Center. The technician has not been publicly identified.
Swedish Medical Center has released a statement that there is “No evidence of any patient exposure” however, they are offering free testing to all patients who underwent surgery at Swedish at any of the locations where the ex-employee worked, including days that the employee was not on the schedule or in the facility. Swedish Medical Center’s CEO “Richard A. Hammett states “We deeply regret that one of our former employees may have put patients at risk, and are sorry for any uncertainty or anxiety this may cause.”
Hepatitis B, also known as HBV or Hep B affects the liver and can cause acute and/or chronic illness. It can also cause yellowing of the eyes, abdominal pain, and dark urine. Children may not experience symptoms. Chronic cases of Hep B can lead to liver failure, cancer, or scarring. In extreme cases, a liver transplant may be necessary, as sourced by The World Health Organization.
Hepatitis C, also known as HCV, causes both acute and chronic infection of the liver. It can be a mild illness but also a serious lifelong illness. Many people affected by Hep C will likely develop liver cirrhosis or liver cancer. There is currently no vaccine for Hep C. Symptoms of Hep C are difficult to discern at first because the infection incubates anywhere from 2 week to 6 months. Prominent symptoms include fever, fatigue, decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, grey colored stool, joint pain, and jaundice. You can learn more through The World Health Organization.
HIV – Human immunodeficiency virus is a non-curable virus that attacks the body’s natural defense against illness. The virus destroys a type of white blood cell called a T-helper cell and makes copies inside of the. There are several strains of HIV and an infected person may carry several different strains. HIV can take around 10 to 15 years for AIDS to develop. HIV symptoms include flu-like symptoms such as fever, sore throat, and fatigue. Once HIV develops into AIDS, symptoms include weight loss, fever or night sweats, fatigue, and recurrent infections. A sufferer may also experience pain the the abdomen, while swallowing, a dry cough, nausea, diarrhea, ulcers in the mouth or a white tongue, sores in the groin area and swelling. Learn More about HIV Here.
If you underwent surgery at Swedish Medical Center, you are welcomed to get a free blood test for HIV, Hep B, and Hep C at the expense of Swedish Medical Center.