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September 24, 2010

The Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL is sending warning letters to 5,000 patients potentially exposed to Hepatitis C from a hospital worker who injected himself with painkillers intended for patients and refilled the syringes with saline, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times.

Hepatitis C is a viral infection that attacks the liver causing inflammation. It is potentially fatal.

47-year-old Steven Beumel was a radiology technician at Mayo Clinic from October 11, 2004 to August 21, 2010. He also worked at St. Luke’s Hospital, owned at the time by Mayo, from 2004 to 2008.

The hospital is working in cooperation with the Florida Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Mayo Clinic assembled the patient list by who had a procedure on the days Beumel worked and in the part of the hospital he where he worked. As of Sunday Sept. 19, the hospital has drawn or scheduled labs for approximately 2,400 patients.

“We want to ensure that every patient who might be at risk is tested,” Dr. William C. Rupp, chief executive officer of Mayo Clinic in Florida said in a statement. “Thanks to the diligent work of our team of data specialists, along with the outside data assurance firms and consultation with the Florida Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we are confident that we are at a point where we’ve identified the vast majority of patients who were put at risk by this former employee.”

Beumel’s testing positive for Hepatitis C and admission of using the patient injections on himself was the missing piece to a three-year investigation into how three patients contracted hepatitis C at the hospital. Testing of the hepatitis C strain in the patients proved it is similar to Beumel’s strain.

“Mayo Clinic will do whatever is necessary to support the needs of its patients,” says Dr. Rupp. “Patient safety is central to the trust the organization shares with its patients. Mayo Clinic is working to ensure that this doesn’t happen again. The multiple systems in place to control narcotics are being strengthened further to create even tighter control.”

3 Comments

  1. Gravatar for Tracy

    At 49 yrs old I was diagnosed with Lung and Breast Cancer,two different primary cancers simutaneously in Nov. 2005. I went to Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville to receive treatment.Living in Melbourne Beach it was a 3 hour drive but worth it to receive the best. I had numerous test, biopsies,surgeries,cat scans with contrast and sedation at both facilities during the time Beumel was employed at Mayo on the days he was working and in the areas he worked. Thats why I received this letter by finding the patients who had procedures on his shifts. I had a mastectomey and lobectomey in January 2006 at St. Lukes.Returned for port implant involving sedaton. Returning every 3 months for cat scans all with contrast and chest xrays. Reurned for another mastectomey later that year after aggressive Chemothearapy inbetween 3 month rechecks. About a year later underwent reconstruction surgery. Had to redo reconstruction as a result of a problem and later,cant remember exact dates returned for nipple construction and again returned because nipple detached and needed to be redone.I cant count the number of times I have been to Mayo from 2005-2010 Yes,I'm scared. I have fought harder than I ever have to remain cancer free with predominately Organic raw diet,exercise,and prayer. With two primary cancers at the same time I was told being young and strong, a former Aerobic Competitor,I was treated very aggressively with Chemo As a result of all the chemo my immune system is compromised and that is an ongoing struggle. Hepatitis C will take a tremendous toll on my already damaged liver and immune system if I am infected along with affecting my personal life which I just seemed to gather somewhat closer.

    Each time I entered the entrance of Mayo Clinic I felt safe. I would say there are angles here. I want to feel that way again. And I believe I still can if action is taken to secure our saftey by having the entire staff tested every 3 months or more and randomly for any and all of these infectious diseases. I trusted Mayo for the best possible treatment each time they entered my body.

    Addiction is no secret. It is escalated to such a degree that why wouldn't all health care professionals,including Doctors,nurses,Techs all involved have mandatory test each month or so. They are human beings with the same tendences to the powerful grip of addiction as we all can be and never should be seggregated and with complete access to any or all drugs. Just because they have a title as Doctor,Nurse,Tech or whatever do no eliminate them from being led into the same obsessions,compulsions,addictions,weaknesses,disease or problems that lead any human being to self medicate or abuse drugs. And with risk of being caught resulting with the fear of termination of employment,reputation,etc is a set up for contamination,human error,hiding,slips,mental confusion,desperation that so many addicts experience that are never addmitted to hide the shame. Any and all health care professionals are not exempt.

    I will go this week to Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville and be tested for Hepatitis C and other infectious diseases that possibly could develope later from this inadequete personel drug screening and I pray I walk away thanking God again for my blessing of health. Cancer has changed my life and I thank Mayo Clinic for helping me live. I have 2 children I love and pray remain disease free so not to go through what I did. I want to put them in Mayo Clinics or any other health care facility with complete confidence that all employees,Doctors,Nurses,Technitions,etc. are disease free.

    I'm praying for all the 5,000 patients that were exposed to the virus.

  2. Gravatar for Andrea

    i RECEIVED A KIDNEY TRANSPLANT AT THE MAYO CLINIC AND THEY ARE THE MOST AMAZING AND WONDERFUL HOSPITAL I HAVE EVER BEEN INVOLVED WITH. I AM SO SORRY THAT ONE SELFISH, CRIMINAL EMPLOYEE WAS ABLE TO GET AWAY WITH THIS HEINOUS BEHAVIOR FOR SO LONG AND MY HEART GOES OUT TO ALL THE PEOPLE WHO ARE WORRIED. DO NOT LET THIS INCIDENT STOP ANYONE GOING TO THE MAYO CLINIC. THEY HAVE SAVED SO MANY LIVES AND ARE THE BEST.

  3. Gravatar for GPS

    I worked in JAX's Mayo Clinic & St Luke's Emergency Departments during his time of employment at each facility. I am appalled and disgusted by the actions of this one individual. People like this drug addicted criminal play a huge part in people's fear/trust of hospitals.

    I still work in emergency medicine- now in Orlando, and find it frightening that this occurred while I was employed there and working so hard doing these things we do so that others may live.

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