Lawsuits Filed Against Olean General Hospital, Insulin Pen Manufacturers

February 27, 2013 Updated Feb 27, 2013 at 9:53 AM EDT

By Kyla Igoe

February 27, 2013 Updated Feb 27, 2013 at 9:53 AM EDT

OLEAN/LANCASTER, NY (WKBW) -The Brown Chiari Law Firm has filed complaints against Olean General Hospital and three insulin pen manufacturers on behalf of three clients. The Lancaster firm is representing former diabetic patients who claim the hospital's negligence has exposed them to blood borne diseases. According to Attorney Don Chiari, the former patients received insulin through an insulin pen and have now tested positive for Hepatitis. Last month, Olean General Hospital announced there was a possibility that insulin pens were re-used on different patients during the period of November 2009 and January 16th of this year. Informational packets were sent out by the hospital to approximately 1,900 patients.
Hospital officials emphasized there is no proof at this time of the "transmission of any blood borne infections during the stay of any patient who received insulin from the pens" during the above time period.

"There was no evidence that anyone at the hospital received contamination through an insulin pen," said Olean General Hospital Spokesperson Dennis McCarthy. "This is all born from information that we had from nurses that said it may have happened."

So far close to 600 people have been tested for HIV and hepatitis B and C. Chiari says these lawsuits are just the beginning, and more are expected be filed.

"In 2009 the FDA came out and made a firm statement that put every health care professional on alert that these are not to be reused. We believe the manufacturers should have taken a more proactive approach on their warnings."

The lawsuits also names big pharmaceuticals manufacturers including: Nordisk, Sanofi-Aventis and Eli-Lilly.