Atrium Patients Learn They May Have Been Exposed To Dirty Equipment

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Inside the Atrium Health Urology Kenilworth office in Dilworth, a mistake in book keeping, Atrium says, could have led to patients being exposed to dirty medical equipment. “It was possibly the worst moment of my life,” one patient tells WCCB about when she heard the news. She contacted us and asked to tell her story. She doesn’t want to share her name or show her face. The single mom of two is terrified that a simple bladder procedure at her doctor’s office could have infected her with hepatitis or even HIV.

She got a voicemail from the Atrium Health Urology Kenilworth office on Thursday, asking her to call them back. She says after hours of phone tag, a nurse finally told her, “There were possible problems that they used dirty equipment during my cystoscopy.” She continues, “They said, ‘Would you like to be tested for infection?’ And I was like, ‘Oh, a possible white blood cell count?’ And they said, ‘No, hepatitis and HIV.”

After multiple emails to Atrium, they finally told WCCB, “During a recent quality assurance audit, we discovered that certain cleaning and sanitization logs we require were not being accurately kept within a urology practice at our Kenilworth facility. Because of this, we can’t verify that all of the necessary steps were taken to make sure equipment used in treatment was ready for patient use. We are reaching out directly to patients who may potentially have been affected and have also taken the necessary steps to prevent it from happening again.”

Right now, all the patient can focus on is her test results. She had blood drawn one day after she got the news. She says, “I was like is this needle dirty? Am I safe? It has made me not trust doctors at all.”

The patient urges anyone who gets the same call she did to go get tested. Atrium did not answer WCCB’s questions about how many patients could have been impacted, and whether the employees tasked with keeping sanitization records have been discipline or fired. We will keep pushing for answers.