A Missouri VA hospital is under fire because it may have exposed more than 1,800 veterans to dangerous viruses like hepatitis and HIV.
John Cochran VA Medical Center in St. Louis has recently mailed letters to 1,812 veterans telling them they could contract hepatitis B, hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) after visiting the medical center for dental work, said Rep. Russ Carnahan.
Carnahan said Tuesday he is calling for a investigation into the issue and has sent a letter to President Obama about it.
"This is absolutely unacceptable," said Carnahan, a Democrat from Missouri. "No veteran who has served and risked their life for this great nation should have to worry about their personal safety when receiving much needed healthcare services from a Veterans Administration hospital."
Dr. Gina Michael is the association chief of staff at the hospital, and says the failure happened because some dental technicians thought they were doing the right thing by washing the dental tools themselves.
Dr. Michael says the techs were using a sink and strong soap to clean the tools, when they should have sent them to the hospital sanitizing and sterilizing department.
The techs, says Dr. Michael, were trying to protect the delicate instruments by doing the cleaning by hand, but instead, they were breaking protocol.
The hand cleaning started in February 2009 and continued until March 2010, when it was discovered by an inspection team from headquarters. The inspection was routine, but the discovery of the hand washing was not.
There is no excuse. Our Missouri veterans deserve better than this. All of our veterans everywhere deserve the best!
**May God Watch Over All Missing and Abused Children**
This is outrageous...Our vets deserve better than this. How could this be possible in this day an age? I an outraged at the system. It times to fire some azzes at this place, and yesterday. Very untrained staff. It goes to the higher ups.