Late Breaking News
Infections Found in VA Patients Exposed to Contaminated Equipment
- Categorized in: April 2009 Issue
According to Department of Veterans Affairs, 16 patients who were exposed to contaminated equipment at VA medical centers have tested positive for viral infections including hepatitis.
To date, 10 patients from the Alvin York VAMC in Murfreesboro, Tenn., have tested positive for hepatitis; four for hepatitis B and six for hepatitis C. Six patients from the ENT clinic at the Charlie Norwood VAMC in Augusta, GA, tested positive for unspeciﬁed viral infections. No one has tested positive for HIV.
In December 2008, staff at the Murfreesboro facility noticed a discrepancy in the equipment tubing while conducting a routine colonoscopy. The use of an incorrect valve within the system opened the door to the possibility of exposure to another patient’s bodily ﬂuids. The hospital sent letters to over 6,000 patients who underwent colonoscopy at the facility between April 23, 2003 and December 1, 2008 requesting that they return to the hospital for a free blood screening.
In Georgia, as many as 1,800 veterans may have been exposed to infection when it was found that endoscopic equipment was not properly disinfected between patients. VA described the risk as low, but admitted the possibility that viruses could have been transmitted during the procedures.
VA also recently advised more than 3,200 additional veterans to undergo blood testing due to possible exposure to contaminants while under- going endoscopy between May 2004 and March 12, 2009, at the Miami Veterans Affairs Healthcare System in Florida. In this case, a hospital inspection revealed that although the endoscopes were cleaned and disinfected, an attached section of tubing was rinsed but not disinfected between procedures.