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North Shore still testing patients in HIV mishap

The lapse occurred over several weeks in April and May, during which time 177 patients received endoscopies. They were asked to come in for blood tests for the viruses, and as of Monday 120 had done so, with initial test results all negative, Lynam said. Because a virus infection might not show up immediately, the patients have been asked to come back for checkups in six months.

The hospital is part of the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, which includes 17 facilities. Each medical center uses a special machine to wash its endoscopes, tiny cameras mounted atop a flexible tube, and follows a cleaning process recommended by professional associations and hospital accreditors, Lynam said.

At the Manhassat facility, two employees did not indicate whether they had checked the levels of disinfectant in the machine, with one fired and one suspended. But the machine wash is but one part of an elaborate cleaning process performed on the reusable endoscopes and the risk of infection is minuscule, Lynam said.

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