A routine medical procedure gone wrong has exposed a young girl from Fort St. James to HIV.
The young girl, who has since moved with her family to Prince George, underwent a routine vaccination procedure at the Fort St. James health unit that went awry when the administering nurse accidentally pricked herself with the needle while she was injecting the patient.
As is procedure when any form of blood cross-contamination occurs the nurse asked the family if their daughter had any blood illnesses, to which they responded no and the nurse also asserted that they had no known illnesses either.
Reportedly, a week later, the family was contacted by Northern Health and informed that the administering nurse had indeed tested positive for HIV and that their daughter had been exposed
It is not yet known whether or not the nurse was aware of their HIV status prior to the contact or whether they were informed after the testing required by procedure after the contact.
The name of both the administering nurse and the girl and her family are being withheld to respect the privacy of those involved.
Sandra Allison, who is the chief medical health officer with Northern Health, said that upon discovery of the incident Northern Health expressed it’s “deep regrets and apologized to the family.”
According to the College of Registered Nurses of B.C. and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia, two of the governing bodies that oversee the medical practices and protocols of nurses in the province, there are are guidelines that prevent staff with communicable diseases like HIV from performing procedures they deem to be “exposure-prone.” However, immunization is considered a relatively safe practices and as such the limitations do not apply to those performing vaccinations.
“We expect all of them [staff] to practice within the guidelines,” said Allison. adding that an investigation into the incident is currently underway.
“As soon as it was brought to our attention an internal investigation was implemented and it is currently under investigation.”
The family of the girl spoke to the Huffington Post B.C. and said in an interview that they have filed a complaint with Northern Health and want changes made to the policy.
As of yet it is undetermined whether or not the young girl has contracted HIV or not but she is undergoing testing.
More information to come.