Health Quality & Safety Commission | Call to re-examine insulin pen use in US hospitals
The Institute of Safe Medication Practice (ISMP) called upon hospitals in the US recently to re-examine insulin pen use for inpatients. This comes after a number of situations in the United States, where hospital inpatient use of insulin pens has resulted in multiple patients receiving their insulin with someone else’s pen.
The needle has been changed in between uses, but there is a risk of backflow during injection and contamination of the insulin in the pen cartridge with blood borne pathogens.
This has affected thousands of patients in the US, all of whom must be called back for testing for hepatitis B and C and HIV.
It is unsafe to place a new disposable needle on a pen used for one patient, and use it to deliver a dose of insulin to another patient.