Patients infected during colonoscopies are suing VA
Patient Safety Monitor Insider
August 26, 2009
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) expects to be fielding lawsuits for negligent handling of medical equipment, reports The Boston Globe. The lawsuits stem from an incident in December during which VA patients at a medical center in Tennessee were infected with HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C after equipment was not properly sterilized. More than 11,000 from three separate patients were notified that they could have possibly been infected via cross contamination and were advised to return for retesting. As of August 3, more than 50 patients reported infections.
Although the VA insists there is no link between infected patients and the endoscopy procedures, it is promising care to any infected patients. The problem was discovered after an investigation into sterilization procedures showed that staff members were not sterilizing endoscopy equipment after every use, and instead sterilizing the equipment at the end of each day.