Thousands Potentially Exposed to Infection at Broward General Med. Ctr.

A Florida nurse is suspected to have fled the country after potentially exposing 1,800 patients to infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis by using disposable IV equipment on multiple patients at Broward General Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale.

Qui Lan, a former nurse at the hospital has reportedly left the country after resigning from her post. Lan’s resignation came a day after the medical center suspended her for reusing IV equipment that was contaminated with other patients’ bodily fluids. Lan could face criminal charges if any of the 1,851 patients she serviced at the hospital are determined to have contracted an infectious disease.

The hospital said Lan’s activities were reported by an anonymous tipster who saw her reuse a saline solution IV bag. The hospital did its own investigation into Lan’s activities and confirmed her actions, which violate basic medical and nursing standards.

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Hospital officials say Lan, who had worked at the medical center since 2004, admitted to knowing that it was wrong to reuse equipment, but would not answer questions probing why she had done it. Several media reports say Lan appears to have left the country.

Broward General Medical Center indicates that it appears Lan was changing the needles and some of the tubing from IVs between patients, but was leaving other parts of the tubing and reusing IV bags. Hospital officials have expressed concern that fluids from previous patients may have gotten into the tubing or bag and infected patients. Hospital officials say the risk of infection is low, but the potential remains.

This is the latest in a string of incidents in recent months where a large number of patients were potentially exposed to infectious diseases through the reuse of dirty medical equipment.

In September, New Jersey officials linked a New Jersey oncologist, Dr. Parvez Dara, to 29 cases of hepatitis B infections, which state officials say may be due to how his staff administers injectable drugs. The office has been repeatedly cited for infection control violations since 2002.

In Colorado, a surgical technician faces multiple criminal charges after admitting this summer that she stole injections of fentanyl, a powerful pain reliever and opioid, for her self, and then used the dirty needles to inject patients with saline solutions. The nurse, Kristen Diane Parker, did so knowing that she had hepatitis C, which she likely contracted from using dirty heroin needles. Thousands of former patients at several facilities where Parker previously worked have required testing for hepatitis and other blood borne diseases.

In Las Vegas, between 2004 and 2008, several thousand people treated at the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada and Desert Shadow Endoscopy Center, were exposed to hepatitis and HIV due to unsafe medical practices, including reuse of syringes and vials of medication intended for only single use. In February 2008, health officials shut the clinics down after identifying the problems, and over 40,000 former patients were advised by the Southern Nevada Health District to get tested for potentially fatal blood-borne diseases like Hepatitis C or HIV.

Earlier this year, several Veteran Affairs clinics discovered problems with sanitation procedures that potentially exposed patients to contaminated medical equipment. The VA had to test more than 10,000 patients for HIV, Hepatitis C and other blood borne infections after discovering that several facilities incorrectly cleaned or used endoscopic equipment used in colonoscopy procedures. In some cases, the equipment was not cleaned after every use, and in other cases an incorrectly used valve meant that blood from a previous operation could be trapped and then exposed to the following patients. At least five of the veterans have tested positive for HIV and more than 40 for hepatitis after being treated with equipment that may not have been properly sterilized.

6 Comments

  • RoseFebruary 7, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    My friend is a VICTIM. BGMC has informed him that he is indeed on of her victims, as a result of her actions he has contracted Hepititis. He is currently looking for an Attorney who would represent him in his medical case. BGMC needs to held accountable for hiring person(s) who would put PATIENTS life at risk...

  • RavenAugust 7, 2010 at 2:54 am

    As a follow-up, I know for a fact that some patients have been identfied as being infected with blood-bourne diseases due to this nurse's actions. it does not look like there will be criminal charges (shame on the Ft. Lauderdale Police), but after all of the public uproar, the Florida Board of Nursing has finally instituted an investigation. No hearing in regard to how this nurse will be held resp[Show More]As a follow-up, I know for a fact that some patients have been identfied as being infected with blood-bourne diseases due to this nurse's actions. it does not look like there will be criminal charges (shame on the Ft. Lauderdale Police), but after all of the public uproar, the Florida Board of Nursing has finally instituted an investigation. No hearing in regard to how this nurse will be held responsible in regard to the licensing board has yet to take place. it still remains an outrageous and sickening act of malpractice by Qui Lan, RN.

  • Ft. LauderdaleJuly 17, 2010 at 10:07 am

    Oh, nevermind, I guess since there were no criminal charges filed. That means that all of her patients were found to be ok. This is so ridiculous.

  • Ft. LauderdaleJuly 17, 2010 at 10:03 am

    I think that there should be consequences for the nurse's actions. Who in their right mind wouldn't agree with that? I don't know why someone with a college degree and a license to practice nursing would do something like this. Even more disturbing is that she admitted to knowing that it was wrong to reuse the equipment. Her license should be revoked. Does anyone know whether or not any patients w[Show More]I think that there should be consequences for the nurse's actions. Who in their right mind wouldn't agree with that? I don't know why someone with a college degree and a license to practice nursing would do something like this. Even more disturbing is that she admitted to knowing that it was wrong to reuse the equipment. Her license should be revoked. Does anyone know whether or not any patients were found to be infected with any bloodborne pathogens as a result of Qui Lan's actions?

  • RavenMay 9, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    I am an RN and a dear friend of mine was a victim of the nurse, Qui Lan, and her unsafe nursing practice. Therefore, I have a lot to say about this case. It is now May 9, 2010 and this case was brought to light on Oct. 9, 2009. Qui Lan, RN still has her nursing license in the state of Florida with no disciplinary action taken - or even a pending hearing with the Florida Board of Nursing! The F[Show More]I am an RN and a dear friend of mine was a victim of the nurse, Qui Lan, and her unsafe nursing practice. Therefore, I have a lot to say about this case. It is now May 9, 2010 and this case was brought to light on Oct. 9, 2009. Qui Lan, RN still has her nursing license in the state of Florida with no disciplinary action taken - or even a pending hearing with the Florida Board of Nursing! The Ft. Lauderdale police did an investgation and decided to not file criminal charges because she "did no harm." In my opinion her nursing license should have been immediately suspended and she should have been charged with assault. Doesn't anyone else feel the same way that I do?!

  • OrlandoOctober 9, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    I was hospitalized in BGMH during months April 2007 (broken leg) and January 2008 (cardioverter defibrillator implant) .

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