St. Louis, Missouri VA Hospital Alerts Patients of Potential Exposure to HIV

St. Louis, Missouri VA Hospital Alerts Patients of Potential Exposure to HIV


06/30/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, USA // Sandra Quinlan // Sandra Quinlan

St. Louis, MO—More than 1,800 veterans who underwent dental work at a Missouri VA hospital recently received letters informing them that they have been infected with potentially lethal blood-borne diseases. The issue stemmed from several technicians’ failure to properly sanitize dental instruments, according to a Wednesday, June 30, 2010 New York Daily News report.

A routine inspection by a government medical team revealed dental tools may have been improperly sterilized. Technicians reportedly hand-washed the instruments in an attempt to prevent them from breaking or becoming damaged in the hospital’s special sterilization machine.

In doing so, potentially life-threatening diseases may have been passed on to veterans who received dental care at the St. Louis-based John Cochran VA Medical Center. Such deviations of the standard of care allegedly began in February 2009, continuing until March 2010.

Congressman Russ Carnahan referred to the violations as “absolutely unacceptable”. He also reportedly demanded the House of Veterans Affairs Subcommittee conduct a formal probe into the episodes.

John Cochran VA Medical Center sent letters to 1,812 possible victims, notifying them that they may have been wrongfully infected with diseases such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.

“No veteran who has served and risked their life for this great nation should have to worry about their personal safety when receiving much needed health-care services from a Veterans Administration hospital…I can only imagine the horror and anger our veterans must be feeling after receiving this letter… They have every right to be angry,” Carnahan stated.

Legal News Reporter: Sandra Quinlan- Legal News for Missouri Medical Malpractice Lawyers.

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