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9 Investigates: 3 test positive for viruses after potential exposure at Atrium Health urology office

CHARLOTTE — Channel 9 has heard from dozens of people after our report about potential exposure to life-changing viruses after having procedures an Atrium Health urology office in Charlotte, all being told by Atrium that they need to test for HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.

Three of them have tested positive for viruses, 9 Investigates learned this week. They all have questions about what happened, and what they need to do next.

It all stems from a quality assurance audit done at the Kenilworth office.

Atrium Health said, “We discovered that certain cleaning and sanitization logs we require were not being accurately kept within a urology practice at our Kenilworth facility. Because of this, we can’t verify that all of the necessary steps were taken to make sure equipment used in treatment was ready for patient use.”

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Channel 9 spoke to 80-year-old Bobby McDougall, who said he had a procedure done at Atrium Health Urology Kenilworth on Sept. 2, 2021.

McDougall says he got a call earlier this month from Atrium Health saying that he needed to get blood work following a procedure 14 months prior. A message on his MyChart page showed up a few days later, saying “reactive” to Hepatitis B.

“It’s positive, and I’m thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, what in the world is going on?’” McDougall told Channel 9′s Hannah Goetz.

His wife, Patty, said that’s how they first got the notice.

“We have never talked to a doctor, we got it through MyChart, which is real nice and cold, as far as I’m concerned.”

On Thursday morning, Patty got a call saying he needed a confirmation test.

“[They said] we just have to do a confirmation test, and I said, ‘You mean the first test was faulty?’ And she said, ‘I didn’t say that,’” Patty said.

We asked if there was any other way that McDougall could’ve contracted Hepatitis B, other than from that procedure.

“No, none,” McDougall said. “On the CDC’s website, it says the ways you can contract Hepatitis B is sexual contact, sharing needles, sharing syringes or sharing any other drug injection equipment.” He added, with a laugh, “None of those.”

Two more patients reached out to Channel 9 since our report last week. They asked now to show their faces, but the couple says they both had procedures done on Sept. 21, 2021, at Atrium Health Urology Kenilworth.

In October 2021, they became very sick. After a trip to the emergency room, they received results in November saying that they were HIV positive. For the last year, they have been treated through different medications hoping to become undetected.

Channel 9 asked Atrium Health how many people were potentially exposed and if they are aware if anyone’s been infected.

Atrium Health responded saying privacy laws prevent them from answering those questions, but they did provide a statement.

“As you’re likely aware, federal privacy laws prevent all healthcare providers from disclosing or commenting on a person’s medical history without their permission. As such, we can’t address the specifics in your question below. What we can tell you is that diagnosing medical conditions is a complex process and often requires a series of tests and consideration of a person’s individual medical history. As we have been sharing with each patient when we communicate directly with them, we are committed to providing them with the best medical guidance they need to help them understand whatever condition they may or may not have.”

The McDougalls say they still want more communication.

“To me, this is serious and I don’t feel it is being treated as serious,” Patty said.

“I don’t have a whole lot of time left,” Bobby said.

(WATCH BELOW: HIV cure: Third person appears to be free of virus with novel treatment)

Hannah Goetz

Hannah Goetz, wsoctv.com

Hannah is a reporter for WSOC-TV.