VA: Three Patients HIV-Positive After Clinic Mistake
April 21, 2009
Veterans Affairs said Friday that initial tests show one patient each from its facilities in Miami; Murfreesboro, Tenn.; and Augusta, Ga. has tested positive for HIV following exposure to potentially contaminated medical equipment. VA spokesperson Katie Roberts said the three HIV cases "still need to be verified" by additional tests.
All three sites used endoscopy equipment made by Olympus American Inc., which said it is working with the VA to address problems with "inadvertently neglecting to appropriately reprocess a specific auxiliary water tube." The infection-control lapses, discovered in December, date back more than five years at the Murfreesboro and Miami hospitals. They were corrected via a VA-wide safety training campaign that concluded March 14, said Roberts.
The VA does not yet know if veterans treated with the same kind of equipment at its other 150 facilities may have been exposed to the same problems.
In all, more than 5,400 of the 10,797 "potentially affected" patients at the three sites have been notified of their follow-up test results. The VA said it is "continuing to notify individuals whose letters have been returned as undeliverable, and working with homeless coordinators to reach veterans with no known home address." More than 100 VA employees have been assigned to the sites to "ensure that affected veterans receive prompt testing and appropriate counseling."
For more information, telephone 877-575-7266; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www1.va.gov/opa/fact/endoscopic_notification.asp.
04.17.2009; Bill Poovey
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