- Health care company Aetna is currently under fire for sending out thousands of envelopes that inadvertently revealed their patients’ HIV statuses. The envelopes had large windows through which anyone who came across them could read a patient’s information.
- The FDA has seized five vials of smallpox vaccine from StemImmune Inc. that used it, without approval or proof it worked, to treat cancer patients. StemImmune said it was cooperating with the FDA. The company said in a brief statement that they look forward to continuing their dialogue with the FDA as we seek to bring this important cancer therapy to cancer patients.
- Ben Taub has closed its main entrance because of water surrounding the area due to the heavy rain and high water from Tropical Storm Harvey. Although patients are not in danger and “no lives are at risk,” Ben Taub public information officer Brian McLeod said Monday, the hospital now “just needs to get enough food to continue to run the house.”
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 30th of August 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health New
Health care company Aetna is currently under fire for sending out thousands of envelopes that incautiously revealed their patients’ HIV statuses. According to CNN, Aetna sent out about twelve thousand letters on July twenty eight to patients who were taking HIV medications as well as Pre-exposure prophylaxis or PreP, an HIV preventative medication. However, the envelopes that the letters came in had large windows through which anyone who came across them could read a patient’s information. Attorneys working with the Legal Action Center and the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania have sent a demand letter on behalf of at least twenty three people who have filed complaints in Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.
Sally Friedman, legal director of the Legal Action Center in New York City, said in a statement that Aetna’s privacy violation devastated people whose neighbors and family learned their intimate health information and they also were shocked that their health insurer would utterly disregard their privacy rights. Unfortunately, the stigma around HIV and AIDS means that this also opens up room for patients to be discriminated against. Friedman told BuzzFeed News that she had heard from someone who was kicked out of his home after the letters were sent out, and another who described feeling suicidal. CNN reports that Aetna sent a letter of apology to affected customers, explaining that the vendor that handled their mail used a windowed envelope, and in some cases, medical documents shifted and made patients’ information visible.
The Food and Drug Administration said Monday it had seized five vials of smallpox vaccine from a San Diego clinic that used it, without approval or proof it worked, to treat cancer patients.
The vaccine, which uses a live virus, is supposed to be tightly controlled and the company did not have permission to use it. Injecting live vaccines into cancer patients can be dangerous, the FDA said. The company, StemImmune Incorporated, had given the vaccine to patients at the California Stem Cell Treatment Centers in Rancho Mirage and Beverly Hills, the FDA said. According to the agency, the U.S. Marshals Service seized five vials of Vaccinia Virus Vaccine (Live) – a vaccine that is reserved only for people at high risk for smallpox, such as some members of the military. Each of the vials originally contained one hundred doses of the vaccine, and although one vial was partially used, four of the vials were intact.
The FDA did not say if anyone had been hurt by the unapproved treatments, but added that because the clinic was operating without approval, it was unlikely people would report trouble to the FDA. StemImmune said it was cooperating with the FDA. The company said in a brief statement that they look forward to continuing their dialogue with the FDA as we seek to bring this important cancer therapy to cancer patients. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the company got the vaccine through a legitimate program. Smallpox was declared eradicated in nineteen seventy nine and no one is routinely vaccinated any more.
Despite heavy rain and high water from Tropical Storm Harvey, a major Houston hospital tried to evacuate a patient who was in critical condition Sunday, but emergency workers had to cease their efforts, and the patient remained at the facility Monday. Water had surrounded Ben Taub Hospital in Houston, closing its main entrance. Ben Taub is the city’s largest Level one trauma center, which contains special equipment and staffing for mass casualty events. It was one of several facilities that upgraded their systems to keep patients safe from floodwaters after Tropical Storm Allison dumped several feet of rain on the area in two thousand one. Although patients are not in danger and “no lives are at risk,” Ben Taub public information officer Brian McLeod said Monday, the hospital now “just needs to get enough food to continue to run the house.” About three hundred fifty patients are still in the facility.
Ben Taub has about one and a half days worth of food left, so it will need to be restocked by Tuesday night if the entire patient population is not evacuated. Many of the patients have special diets, so they are looking for a food vendor that could serve specific dietary needs.
Flooding in the area temporarily disrupted power, according to Judge Emmet, a Harris County emergency official who spoke at a news conference Sunday. He said the county had been notified that the hospital was going to be evacuated because there was floodwater in its basement and a sewer line break.