May 29, 2009
The Miami Veterans Administration hospital is continuing efforts to reach the 216 veterans it has not yet been able to contact to warn them of their risk of hepatitis or HIV. In late March, the hospital notified more than 3,000 local veterans of possible infections from colonoscopies performed from May 2004 to March with improperly sterilized equipment. So far, three Miami veterans have tested positive for HIV and eight for hepatitis. Among the outreach efforts planned: sending seven nurses door-to-door on June 6 seeking the 216 veterans, and a "Reach Out Fair" on June 13 at the VA to try to persuade the 72 veterans who initially declined testing to get screened. US Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Miami) called the new actions "appropriate and correct." "It is squarely on [the VA] to begin the process of gaining back the public trust," she added.