Congresswoman Calls Miami VA Hospital "Scandalous" - NBC 6 South Florida

Congresswoman Calls Miami VA Hospital "Scandalous"

VA hospital still hasn't notified some patients about surgeries involving HIV contaminated equipment

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    News of the Veteran Administration Hospital in Miami's recent  mishap has brought the viper out of a local politician.

    U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen called the omission of 79 patients who may have contracted HIV from contaminated equipment "scandalous" during a meeting with hospital officials Thursday.

    "Our nation's veterans deserve the very best," she said. "We were told this problem had already been taken care of."

    On Wednesday, VA Hospital officials announced there were still some colonoscopy patients who had not been notified contaminated equipment may have been used during the procedure. Over 11,000 patients in Miami, Georgia and Tennessee were told of the problem last year.

    Many were tested for HIV, hepatitis and other infectious diseases that may have been transmitted from the bodily fluids of other patients. Records show that among the patients at the three hospitals who heeded VA warnings to get follow-up blood checks, eight tested positive for HIV. Twelve former patients have tested positive for hepatitis B and 37 have tested positive for hepatitis C.

    Not all 79 patients have been reached, Ros-Lehtinen said, and the hospital plans on making personal visits to some of the people.

    The recent mishap led to the hospital director being reassigned and may bring more political scrutiny to the VA.

    Hospital officials told Ros-Lehtinen the colonoscopy patients not notified likely slipped through the cracks of the first recall because the procedure wasn't complete for some reason or it was a secondary procedure to a large medical operation.

    "The VA has let "the veterans" down and we need to regain that trust again," Ros-Lehtinen said.