TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (KFSM) — A class action lawsuit has been filed against Cherokee Nation W.W. Hastings Hospital by two patients who claim a nurse reused needles, syringes and vials from person to person, exposing them to a number of diseases including HIV.
The class action lawsuit alleges a nurse at the hospital reused needles, syringes and vials on patients in 2018.
The lawsuit says by violating the CDC protocols, the hospital possibly exposed patients to diseases like HIV and hepatitis.
“We think there was as many as 200 people who were potentially affected,” Attorney Fourth Scoufos said.
Scoufos represents two people who both were patients at the hospital during the time frame.
“We think they delayed in contacting the patients and we think the hospital didn’t take the appropriate steps to safeguard not only the patients’ health but to properly inform and notify the patients,” Scoufos said.
The Department of Health and Human Services Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services investigated the hospital and found the nurse used the same needle and syringe on several different patients until the needle was dull, usually at the end of the day.
Scoufos says one of his clients was called by the hospital saying they were doing some free health screenings, so she asked the hospital why.
“It was not immediately disclosed to her that it was a result of a lack of protocol that the hospital staff followed and the other one I think heard about it through the grapevine and since then we’ve heard several other people found out about it the same way,” Scoufos said.
In a statement Cherokee Nation Chief of Staff, Todd Enlow said:
“The Cherokee Nation is reviewing the filing and remains committed to providing quality health care for our tribal citizens and all our health services patients.
Cherokee Nation Health Services made policy revisions that were met and approved by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services in 2018, including additional training and monitoring and reporting procedures.
Cherokee Nation Health Services strives for a culture of transparency and encourages employees to speak up about concerns of patient safety and outcomes.
The Cherokee Nation continues to advance its health system recently opening a new state-of-the-art outpatient health center, constructing a new OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at Cherokee Nation medical school, adding more specialty services, employing a great workforce and reducing patient wait times.”
The nurse who didn’t follow protocols was identified by The Cherokee Nation in 2018 as John Baker. He resigned from his position in May 2018.