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Negligence Leads to Contamination at VA Clinics

Officials just announced Monday that veterans in South Florida may have been exposed to Hepatitis and HIV after being examined with contaminated medical equipment at the Miami Veterans Affairs Healthcare System. Special care units opened Tuesday, providing those at risk of infection with free testing.

Medical Negligence Resulted in Contamination

According to reports, the contaminated equipment has been traced back to an investigation that exposed medical negligence among clinic workers. As noted in the reports, clinic workers responsible for cleaning and maintaining the equipment used for colonoscopies were not following the manufacturer’s directions; the tubing used in the procedures was not properly disinfected before being used.

Who is at Risk of Exposure?

According to reports, veterans who received colonoscopies at the Miami VA medical clinic between May 2004 and March 12, 2009 are at risk of exposure to both Hepatitis and HIV. The VA sent more than 3,200 letters to veterans who may have had a colonoscopy during that time frame.

While officials say the chance of infection is slim, they are still trying to take every precaution necessary by examining every veteran who may have been exposed. Since Monday, March 23, the VA received more than 2,600 calls from patients who received the letter. Approximately 350 veterans have already been examined and more than 650 others have scheduled appointments.

Other VA Clinics Engaged in Medical Negligence

According to reports, this is not the first time a VA clinic has had to provide free testing for possible exposure to infection. In fact, the VA Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia had a similar problem last year. They sent a letter to more than 1,200 patients who were treated for ear, nose and throat problems at their facility between January and November 2008, warning them they may have been exposed to infections.

And, following a December 2008 investigation at the VA clinic in Murfreesboro, officials discovered that clinic workers were not properly maintaining the medical equipment used to conduct colonoscopies. More than 6,000 patients were notified and offered free testing.

(Source: CNN)

Compensation for Medical Negligence

If you or a loved has been diagnosed with Hepatitis, HIV or another infection after being treated at a VA medical clinic, you are eligible to recover compensation for losses including medical expenses, lost wages, long-term treatments (if necessary) and emotional pain and suffering. For more information or to speak with a qualified medical malpractice attorney who will help get your case started, please contact us today.


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