Health Department: Plastic surgery clinic put patients at risk

SPOKANE, Wash. - Plastic surgery center vo

A Spokane plastic surgery center is under investigation for allegedly reusing syringes and vials of medication, putting hundreds of patients at risk for HIV and Hepatitis A and B.

The Spokane Health District said the risk of getting HIV and Hepatitis A and B are low but even so, they are taking this situation very seriously and are urging patients to get tested.

The Department of Health said staff at the Aesthetic Plastic Surgical Center, located at 801 E. 5th Avenue on the lower South Hill, reused syringes multiple times and vials of medication meant for single use were reused. Those practices can expose patients to infections.

The Health Department said it discovered the violations during an inspection in April and the practices have since stopped. But, according to investigators, at least 415 patients may have been put at risk between 2006 and April of 2013.

Mark Springer, an epidemiologist with the Spokane Health Department says patients need to be advocates and speak up when something doesn't seem right.

"Be an observant patient when you are at a facility, a doctor's office or hospital or surgical center; if you have questions or something looks a little but funny, ask questions, ask why they are doing it or what's happening," Springer said.

Springer said if you were a patient you need to go to your doctor and be tested. You will usually get results in a few days.

It's possible an infected person can spread HIV, Hepatitis A and B to others through contact with blood or other bodily fluids. Infection can not be spread by sharing food, kissing or shaking hands.

The surgery center is open and the department of health said its developed a plan to prevent it from happening again.

The Aesthetic Plastic Surgical Center did not return calls for comment on this story.