My heart skipped a few beats last week when I read about the potential outbreak resulting from a lack of safe infection control measures in a doctor’s office in Santa Barbara County. Things had been going fairly smoothly in regard to safe injection practices. In 2014, none of the investigations which took place found any disease transmissions. In fact, we had not had an investigation over the last six months and although we never stop educating and spreading awareness, we were able to breathe a small sigh of relief. Read more
When I was infected with Hepatitis C, my daughter had just turned one. The devastation of such a horrendous diagnosis coupled with the new person who was now in my life was almost stranger than fiction. Now more than five years later, after a wild ride and a journey still in process, I have started to open up to my daughter and talk a bit about the drug diversion which caused my disease.
I know, I know, Lucy is only six and the idea of drug diversion seems a pretty intense subject for a first grader. But every so often she asks me to tell the story and I know which one she means. And as it is a very long story with many twists and turns, I always ask, which part?
I have held a special place in my heart for Dr. Joe Perz of the CDC for the last 5 years. Even though we have not met in person, we were introduced in a very peculiar way. You see, Joe was one of the first on the scene to investigate a potential outbreak in Colorado in the spring of 2009. The CDC was called in when it was determined there were two reported cases of hepatitis C from individuals who had surgeries at the same hospital just a day or two apart.
I was one of those two patients. I am eternally grateful to Joe and his colleagues for not only getting to the heart of the outbreak and allowing a broken system to be mended but for offering me a sense of understanding about how I had gotten infected. Along the way, several other healthcare professionals with whom I was in contact scoffed at my insistence that I had been infected during my healthcare procedure—and that many other patients had, too. Ever since this first unusual “meeting,” I have followed the tremendous work of Joe Perz and the CDC’s extraordinary Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion (DHQP). I’m a fan!