Credit:

Credit: cadat.info

As many as hundreds of WA patients who had received treatments from a number of regional hospitals in Northwest of WA breathe a sigh of relief as they have been cleared of any serious infections including HIV and hepatitis following the breach of infection control measures by an anaesthetist.

The 62 year-old anaesthetists -trained in Australia and overseas -had been working in Port Hedland, Nickol Bay and Derby hospitals in the area between 2008 and April 2010.

Earlier this year, the medical board received reports on the breach of protocols and he was suspended on full pay while the investigation was carried out.

It was feared that his patients might have been exposed to a number of serious infections by cross-blood contamination.

The breach of protocol by the doctor included using anaesthetics-administrating equipments while performing procedures such as endoscopies and colonoscopies.

Dr Felicity Jefferies, medical director of WA Country Health Service said the majority of the 540 people who had been treated by the doctor during the two years, have been contacted.

The tests revealed no proof these patients have been exposed to any blood-borne infections such as HIV, hepatitis B and C and syphilis.

She said the test results for about 70 per cent of patients who might have been at risk have been received and there have been no adverse findings.

She added they are following up those who have yet came forth to make sure they are aware of the testing they need to undergo.

There are 25 patients who have yet to respond to phone calls or registered mail, said Dr Jefferies and along with another group which had been exempted from taking the tests as they were considered not at risk because they were the first patients seen by the doctor on the day.

Dr Jefferies said in April the procedure done by the doctor could be considered normal as it was practiced 20 years ago, but with the current knowledge about infections, it is not something doctors do anymore.

Please contact the Pilbara Health Service on (08) 9172 8339 or (08) 9172 8302 if you believe you may be at risk.