Dirty Equipment May Have Infected Veterans With HIV

More than 3,200 veterans asked to visit their doctor

Doctors at a Miami Veterans Administration hospital may have operated on over 3,200 patients with dirty equipment that may have infected them with deadly diseases.

Officials said Monday colonoscopy patients should meet with a doctor to get screened for HIV, hepatitis and other diseases. That's probably not the best way to pay back people who laid their life on the line for this country.

"It is outrageous and unacceptable that our veterans would be subjected to such shocking mistreatment," Congressman Ron Klein said. "There must be a full investigation - beginning today - into how this could possibly happen, who was responsible and how we can ensure our hospitals are safe going forward."

Patients from May 2004 through March 12, 2009 should rush to see a doctor and get tested.

It's unclear how the infectious equipment made it into operating rooms, but VA officials said the problem was things were sterilized properly. Still, VA officials claim the threat is minimal and that no tools that actually made contact with the patients was contaminated.

The announcement is becoming a disturbing trend for the government-funded hospitals aimed at helping veterans, especially those who needed to get their colons checked out.

Last month, a similar red alert was sounded for 6,400 veterans who had a colonoscopy at a VA hospital.

VA officials also said 1,800 veterans treated at an ear, nose and throat clinic in Augusta, Ga., were alerted they could have been exposed to an infection due to improper disinfection of an instrument.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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