Miami Man to Sue VA Hospital for HIV

A $20 million lawsuit against the government has been filed by a North Miami Army vet

A North Miami man feels it's about time the Veteran Administrations Hospital pay for their potentially deadly mistake that has impacted the lives of potentially thousands of clients.

Juan Rivera, 55, claims he was one of the hospital's patients who contracted HIV during colonoscopies where unclean and possibly infected medical instruments were used in the procedure. Rivera is a 13-year Army vet and has a wife and five children, according to the Miami Herald. He is the first to file a lawsuit against the government. He is seeking $20 million in damages.

The botched surgeries made headlines and grabbed the attention of local and national politicians who called for the VA to take responsibility for their mistake.

In March, the VA sent letters to more than 3,000 veterans who had colonoscopies at the Miami VA hospital informing them that improperly cleaned equipment might have exposed them to hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. Similar problems arose at VA hospitals in Tennessee and Georgia with more than 11,000 veterans potentially exposed to the unsanitary equipment.

Records show that among the patients at the three hospitals who have heeded VA warnings to get follow-up blood checks, eight have tested positive for HIV. Twelve former patients have tested positive for hepatitis B and 37 have tested positive for hepatitis C.

The VA contends there is no way to prove a patient contracted any disease while at the hospital.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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