Navigation Links
VA Faces Questions Over Tainted Colonoscopies
Date:6/16/2009

Former patients could have been infected with HIV, hepatitis via non-sterile equipment

TUESDAY, June 16 (HealthDay News) -- The scandal over potentially tainted colonoscopy and endoscopy equipment used at three Veterans' Affairs hospitals made its way to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, with U.S. lawmakers rebuking VA officials for not taking tougher action to remedy the situation.

In February, the VA launched an investigation after learning that more than 10,000 patients at three agency hospitals in the Southeast may have been exposed to HIV, hepatitis and other infections through non-sterile equipment used in colonoscopies or endoscopies conducted as far back as 2003.

Some believe the problem may extend beyond those three hospitals, which are in Miami, Fla., Murfreesboro, Tenn. (where the problem was first detected), and Augusta, Ga., the Associated Press reported.

"I think this was an institutional breakdown," Rep. Phil Roe of Tennessee, a doctor and ranking Republican on the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs oversight and investigation subcommittee, told the news service.

After the initial problems were reported at Murfreesboro, the VA conducted a nationwide safety "step up" at its 153 medical centers. The agency says it has also discussed the issue with staff at all hospitals, as well as representatives of the company that made the equipment, Olympus America, Inc., the news service said.

The VA's inspector general also conducted random, surprise checks on 42 VA locations to see if similar, lax sterilization procedures were in place. According to the AP, VA officials said that similar problems were noted at more than 12 other facilities, but they did not warrant follow-up blood tests from current and former patients.

According to Roe, the VA has been trying to keep patients and the public abreast of the issue since its discovery. "These people [at the VA] did not intentionally do anything wrong," he said.

On Tuesday, the agency's inspector general told the Congressional hearing that fewer than half of VA facilities targeted by last month's surprise inspections have proper training and guidelines in place to improve safety.

"You would certainly think that after the initial discoveries and the directive from the VA that medical directors would make sure that all of their equipment and procedures were brought into line, and yet this investigation shows that many, many did not," House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Filner, D-Calif., said on Tuesday. Filner did applaud the VA for the transparency with which it was handling the issue, however.

One expert believes fears over contamination via the medical instruments used at the VA may be exaggerated.

"Sterilizing medical equipment is a good idea," Philip Alcabes, associate professor of urban public health at Hunter College in New York City, told HealthDay. "But to claim that an extra threat of transmitting blood-borne viruses pertains to the VA's colonoscopy clinics seems like showmanship," he added. "Since it isn't clear that any patients were actually infected by this equipment, the situation doesn't seem to warrant special rhetoric. It would be better to try to separate the political controversy from the actual health problem here."

More information

Find out more about colonoscopy at the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.



SOURCES: Philip Alcabes, Ph.D., associate professor, urban public health, Hunter College, New York City; Associated Press


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. One in Seven Seniors Faces Social Security Check Cuts in 2010
2. Our Communities Blood Supply Faces Summer Challenges
3. More Faces Being Spared in Motor Vehicle Accidents
4. Obituary photos suggest growing bias against aging faces
5. Childrens Home + Aid Faces Revenue Shortfall
6. Sentillion Releases Healthcare Do It Yourself Tool for Single Sign-On and Context Management Application Interfaces
7. Acclaimed New England Photographer Donald Verger Holds Faces of Innocence Charity Event for the Innocence Project
8. CSL Behring to Launch Next GameFaces Program Challenge
9. Record number of patients seek laser treatments to take lightyears off their faces
10. Video: Record Number of Patients Seek Laser Treatments to Take Light-Years Off Their Faces
11. Many faces of diabetes in American youth: The SEARCH for diabetes in youth study
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... May 05, 2016 , ... Qrono Inc. ... announced a development collaboration with the Australian critical medicine company, Phebra Pty ... schizophrenia. , LAI medicines can offer improved therapeutic benefits over oral formulations, including ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... May 05, 2016 , ... Einstein Medical is ... to cover the latest news and commentary at the 2016 ASCRS/ASOA Symposium and Congress, ... the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery and the American Society of Ophthalmic ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... May 05, 2016 , ... This weekend, from Friday, May 6 - Sunday, May ... California terrain at the first Team Semper Fi Mountain Bike Camp, hosted in conjunction with ... mountain bike legends Mark Weir and Jason Moeschler, who’ll share pro tips with the injured ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... May 05, 2016 , ... ... exercises, the Wharton Seminars for Business Journalists , led by the ... key business and economic issues.  This one-day program at the Wharton School’s ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... ... Derrin Doty Group has unveiled the latest charity campaign in their ongoing community ... The insurance provider’s caring team has been so moved by the sudden death of ... the flu, that they have decided to extend their original campaign. Compassionate community members ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/3/2016)... May 3, 2016   BIOTRONIK will be ... care beyond the implant at the Heart Rhythm Society,s ... San Francisco . ... highest quality of patient care and satisfaction possible. Part ... each and every tomorrow," said Marlou Janssen , ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson ... woman who says its talc-based powder products caused ovarian ... $5 million in compensatory damages and $50 million ... ) , This is the second ... February, the same court awarded $72 million to the ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... 2016  Specialty Silicone Fabricators is offering teachers ... a cleanroom works. The free visual aid provides ... technology. Chris Mazelin , ... SSF enthusiastically supports the Science, Technology, Engineering and ... next generation of innovators. We want to provide ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: