Only 411 patients were expected to be recalled
Singapore General Hospital (SGH) is now recalling almost 1,000 people back for hepatitis C screening, a figure more than doubled from the initial 411 patients they recalled.
Turns out, the 411 patients are admitted between April and June, but there are more patients who might be affected. From January to March, there were 267 patients. These patients were in turn cared for by 273 doctors and nurses from January to June.
Thus we arrive at 951 people.
The first case of the hepatitis C outbreak was confirmed on 17 Apr. SGH’s renal ward 64A was renovated from April to June, with patients diverted to ward 67.
At 6pm Thursday (8 Oct), SGH had managed to contact 298 patients, and 251 of them have already fixed appointments for the screening.
Further, 78 patients and 169 hospital staff have been screened, including 42 doctors and 51 nurses who directly cared for the renal patients.
Test results will be out after a week. The incubation period of the hepatitis C virus is between two weeks and six months.
22 patients have been affected by the viral outbreak. Of the 22, eight have died, with four linked to the infection. A fifth case is under review. Two of the remaining 14 patients who survived are still warded. The relative of one of the warded patients has spoken up about the family’s struggles.
While the exact cause of infections has yet to be confirmed, multi-dose medication vials are suspected.
Health Minister’s response
At this morning’s book launch of a commemorative book on healthcare milestones and awards ceremony, the “gravely concerned” and “disappointed” Health Minister Gan Kim Yong had this to say:
As a healthcare family, we are all saddened by the hepatitis C Cluster at SGH. Our thoughts are with the patients and their families. We will provide them with the necessary support and treatment, and we will learn from this incident and improve ourselves.
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