FAIRBANKS — An assistant professor was placed on paid leave while the University of Alaska Fairbanks reviews the injecting of about 30 students with a solution not intended for human use.
Students have told officials that clinical procedures professor Sherry Wolf told them to repeatedly inject each other with the solution that is only intended for use on pads during training exercises, UAF spokeswoman Marmian Grimes told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
The practice stopped after students called the manufacturer and were told to end the injections, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.
“It should not have happened,” Chancellor Brian Rogers said. “I’m heartsick over it.”
Students complained of burning sensations immediately after the injections; some also had skin irritation. The university is reviewing the effects, but Rogers told the newspaper that no health problems have been definitely linked to the injections.
Wolf didn’t immediately return email and phone messages sent to her work by the AP on Wednesday. A woman who answered the phone at a listing for a Sherry Wolf in Fairbanks hung up when a reporter asked if she was the professor.
The university accepts responsibility for the improper use of the solution called simulated 0.9 percent sodim chlorde injection, Rogers said.
The label said it should not be used on humans or animals, and should instead be used only on injection pads or training devices.
It wasn’t clear how many injections students received. Classroom logs indicate the average student received 10 injections total, but those may be incomplete, said Michele Stalde, dean of the college.
Stalder said Wolf, who taught both classes, has been placed on paid leave. Wolf’s contract will expire at the end of the year, and Stalder said it won’t be renewed.
Also under review is the Allied Health Department. Student complaints about the injections were made to a department administrator on Feb. 24, but those were not escalated to other risk management or UAF officials, the newspaper said.
Administrators said they only became aware of the injections after Pocket Nurse, the Pennsylvania-based manufacturer of the solution, sent a letter March 6 about what it called an “alarming call” from a student.
The letter from Pocket Nurse President Anthony Battaglia instructed UAF to stop misusing the products and get medical attention for the affected students.
The university is using an independent lab to determine whether the solution contains substances that would be harmful to humans. Early tests have so far shown two bacteria strains in at least some vials. The newspaper reports one strain commonly causes a rash, and the other isn’t known to cause disease in humans.
“The students have reported other symptoms that we can’t explain at this point,” Rogers said.
The university also has agreed to pay for medical testing for those students affected.
Final lab results could be available by the end of the week.
Wolf has been in instructor at UAF since 2006, and letters are being sent to her former students informing them of the problem.