VA Hosptials infected vetarans with HIV and Hepatits

The Huffington Post reported almost two weeks ago that VA Hospital Slip-Ups infected 4 patients with HIV. They told of thousands of veterans being advised to get tested for HIV because three different hospitals may have treated them with unsterile equipment. The story had yet to gain traction.

Over the weekend, the LA Times reported (via AP) a 5th HIV case linked to unsterile VA Hospital equipment. Seven more patients had also tested positive for hepatitis, which brought the total who have tested positive for hepatitis to 33. Here’s more from the AP story in the LA Times:

  • Nearly 11,000 former sailors, soldiers, airmen and Marines could have been exposed at the hospitals in Miami, Murfreesboro, Tenn., and Augusta, Ga. The agency said 6,687 patients have been notified of their test results so far.
  • They are among thousands tested because they were treated with endoscopic equipment that wasn’t properly sterilized between patients and exposed them to the body fluids of others. The equipment is often used in colonoscopies and ear, nose and throat procedures.
  • The day after the first HIV infection became public April 6, the VA announced that its top medical official, Dr. Michael Kussman, was retiring. Kussman still works at the VA but could not be reached for comment. Roberts has said there was “no connection whatsoever.

A Google Search will show that this story has yet to catch on, but I’m guessing today is the day that more Americans find out how our veterans have been put at risk at a place that is supposed to take care of them. If we can take just a moment to turn a portion of our attention from H1N1, we can give more thought to veterans who have erroneously been infected with a virus more that’s likely to kill them.

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