The US House Committee on Veterans' Affairs oversight and investigations subcommittee has scheduled a June 16 hearing into mistakes that put patients at three VA facilities at risk for HIV and hepatitis. Advertisement
In all, more than 10,000 patients receiving care at VA facilities in Miami, Augusta, Ga., and Murfreesboro, Tenn., were urged to get tested for blood-borne infections. Five have tested positive for HIV and 43 for hepatitis, according to the agency's Web site. Follow-up tests are continuing, with VA records showing that roughly 8,000 of the 10,483 possibly affected veterans have been notified of their test results.
The patients were placed at risk by improperly operated or cleaned endoscopy equipment. The VA initially discovered the equipment mistake at Murfreesboro, prompting the agency to conduct a nationwide safety "step-up" at all of its 153 medical centers. The problems have since been discussed with all staff and with representatives of the equipment manufacturer. However, a top VA doctor said it is unlikely the agency will ever know if the positive tests were caused by the mistakes.
Rep. Harry Mitchell (D-Ariz.), the subcommittee's chair, said if veterans test positive for HIV or hepatitis, "whether it came from these improper procedures or not, the VA has a responsibility to take care of these patients."
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.