January 17, 2013
On January 15, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.) issued separate requests to the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) Inspector General for an independent review of the Buffalo VA Medical Center. The motivation for this inquiry comes from reports that more than 700 patients may have been exposed to HIV, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C within the past two years through the use of multi-dose insulin pens on more than one patient. Medical center officials say that needles were changed with each use, but the risk of contamination remained for the patients involved. Both Schumer and Higgins question how those involved let this practice continue undetected from October 2010 to November 2012, and why the VA took two months to contact those who may have been affected. Patients who may have been affected are being advised to get tested.