Local plastic surgeon calls syringe warning "inaccurate”

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by KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on October 1, 2013 at 4:44 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 1 at 7:00 PM

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- A licensing inspection at the Aesthetic Plastic Surgical Center found that staff had been improperly using syringes and drug vials and putting patients at risk of infection according to health officials.

Yet, Dr. Jeffrey Karp released a statement Tuesday afternoon calling the Department of Health’s warning “misleading and inaccurate.”

The Department of Health said they took immediate action to ensure that the clinic stopped the unsafe practice. State investigators said they were made aware that syringes were being used multiple times and vials of medication meant for single use may have been used more than once during a facility inspection. State health officials required the clinic to develop a plan of correction after the inspection in April. Officials said the facility complied and the unsafe practices were ended right away.

Now, state officials are trying to notify at least 415 patients about the potential for exposure. They said infection risk is low. However, as a precaution, health officials said anybody who had surgery at the facility between 2006 and April 11, 2013 should consider taking a blood test for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV.

However, the statement released by Dr. Karp tells a different story. Here is a portion of his statement:

“At no time did Dr. Karp or his staff improperly use syringes or drug vials.  The clinic has never used the same syringe on more than one patient.  Every syringe is discarded after each patient’s individual use.  Additionally, the clinic has never improperly used single or multi-dose drug vials.  The vials are only either used on the same patient multiple times and then discarded or they are used on up to three patients, but each time the vial is entered only with a new, sterile syringe.  This is the approved medical standard of practice and does not expose patients to any infection control risks.

For months, Dr. Karp has been trying to work with the Washington State Department of Health to clarify their clear misunderstanding and inaccurate evaluation of his clinic’s practices that were formulated during their licensing survey earlier this year. This misunderstanding is based on an interview with a technician who the surveyor clearly misunderstood. The Washington State Department of Health has not been responsive to repeated efforts to clarify and validate the correct information about the actual practices at the clinic.”

Despite the claim by Dr. Karp, health officials said Tuesday that it was possible that an infected person could pass the illness on to others through contact with blood or other body fluids. The risk of being infected is low and treatment is available according to health officials.

Patients should contact your doctor with questions or call the Department of Health Office of Communicable Disease Epidemiology at 206-418-5500. However, Dr. Karp asked that patients with questions contact his office directly.

“I take my responsibility to my patients very seriously and their safety and care is my absolute priority,” said Dr. Karp.  “That’s why it’s critical they understand the real facts.  I can say emphatically, no patient has ever been exposed to a needle or syringe used on another patient.”

Karp went on to state that he sincerely apologizes for the unwarranted stress and concern they may experience due to the Washington State Department of Health’s release of this inaccurate information.

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