The Cherokee Nation flag is placed atop the new W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, on March 9, 2018. Photo: Anadisgoi

Cherokee Nation hospital tests patients for infectious diseases after lapse in protocol

The Cherokee Nation has fired a nurse who broke protocol by reusing syringes at a tribally-managed Indian Health Service facility in Oklahoma.

The nurse was incorrectly administering medicine at the W.W. Hastings Hospital as far back as January, The Cherokee Phoenix reported. Though no needles came in contact with patients, the facility is testing people for infectious diseases to make sure no one was exposed.

“The nurse responsible for this lapse in protocol is no longer employed by Cherokee Nation,” Brian Hail, the chief executive officer of the hospital, said at a tribal legislative meeting on Monday, The Phoenix reported.

According to news reports, the hospital has contacted 186 patients who received services there between January and April. Of the 89 who have been tested so far, none have been positive for infectious diseases.

“We’re a big government, and we have to do our due diligence to make sure things are handled properly,” Speaker Joe Byrd of the Cherokee Nation Council told The Tulsa World. “You can be sure that I’ll have my pulse on the situation.”

The facility is located in Tahlequah, the capital of the Cherokee Nation. It is currently undergoing a major expansion that will make the 469,000-square-foot outpatient facility the largest of its kind in Indian Country.

The tribe took over operations of the hospital from the IHS on October 1, 2008.

Read More on the Story:
Nurse who potentially exposed 186 patients no longer at Hastings Hospital (The Cherokee Phoenix June 12, 2018)
Cherokee hospital testing 186 patients for HIV after nurse reused syringes (The Tulsa World June 11, 2018)
Cherokee Nation: Nurse Involved In HIV, Hep C Scare No Longer Employed (KOTV June 11, 2018)
'Protocol lapse' prompts blood tests at Hastings (The Tahlequah Daily Press June 9, 2018)