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VA Clinic Patients Who Received a Colonoscopy Warned of Infection Risk

  • Written by: AboutLawsuits
  • 25 Comments

Thousands of patients who received a colonoscopy at VA clinics in Tennessee and Georgia may have been exposed to a risk of infection according to warnings issued last week.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has mailed registered letters to 6,378 patients treated at the Alvin C. York VA Medical Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, who received a colonoscopy between April 23, 2003 and December 1, 2009.

An additional 1,800 letters were sent to veterans who were treated at an ear, nose and throat clinic at the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia between January 2008 and November 2008.

Patients treated during these times may have come in contact with other patients’ infectious bodily fluids. Free blood tests are being offered to those affected and no infections have been identified so far.

At the Tennessee VA Medical Center, the infection risk appears to have been caused by a valve in the colonoscopy equipment being connected incorrectly and the tubing attached to the colonoscope may not have been changed properly between patients.

According to the letters sent to patients, the valve-tube connection does not come into contact with the patient during the procedure, but there might still be a potential risk of being exposed to an infection like HIV or hepatitis.

At the Georgia VA Medical Center, problems were found with endoscopic equipment used at the ear, nose and throat clinic. Patients may have been exposed to infection as a result of an improperly disinfected instrument that was used during some procedures.

VA officials have apologized for the issues, which appear to have been caused by human mistake. They have stressed that the risk of infection is very small, but are still recommending blood tests for those who were treated with the equipment.

As a result of the problems, VA Medical Centers throughout the United States are instituting special training sessions.

In January 2008, approximately 50,000 people in the Greater Las Vegas area were notified that they may have been exposed to a risk of HIV or hepatitis infection after it was discovered that two privately owned and operated endoscopy clinics were engaging in unsafe medical practices, such as re-using syringes and single dose vials of anesthesia for multiple patients.

As of October 2007, Nevada health officials had identified 114 cases of potentially fatal hepatitis C among those who received a colonoscopy at either of the two Las Vegas clinics between March 2004 and January 2008.

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25 comments

  1. Richard Reply

    I am one of the veterans who had a colonoscopy that falls into this exposure. I am absolutely appalled at the information I have received concerning this. I am a single father with full custody of three children and I do not need any other health problems from “human error by the Veteran Administration”. I have received my Lab# and I am scheduled to go to Murfreesboro, Tennessee for my blood work. I am grateful for having the VA for my medical services, but now I have a lot of distrust.

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  3. MYSTIC Reply

    I am also a NUMBER at York Hospital, I just want to know the results of my TEST. I have had 3 Colonoscopies in that Time period and i can’t get any info. What’s up with that CRAP.I mean, You guys sent out letters by Certified Mail, that ADMITTED TO MALPRACTICE. What does a VET have to do to get INFO, DIE?
    THEY’RE WORKING ON THAT.

  4. Jerry Reply

    I Think the VA Hospitals are JOKES and am tired of being IGNORED by the Ones that are supposed to be Helping. It took them 4yrs to let Me know I had Diabeties, From 2004 to NOV. 2008.
    Aren’t WE LUCKY to have such FINE attention and access to Info being SOOOOOO Easy to Recieve.

  5. James Reply

    I am one of the veterans who had a colonoscopy that falls into this exposure. I am absolutely appalled at the information I have received concerning this. I am married with a young child and my most fear was I MAY HAVE AFFECTED MY WIFE! I also as Richard (first sentence copied ) feel the same way…. VOICE UP AMERICA! Veterans should be treated just as well as Citizens, cause in a private hospital, someone would be blamed and the victim would be compensated… Oh sorry… WE VETERANS get medical services done by the goverment so we should be treated differantly… BULLCRAP! What my wife and I went through for a MONTH was upsetting……

  6. john Reply

    had my blood work last week so pray i get a good phone call next week, this has been on my mind for quite some time, finaly got the courage to get the blood work done.

    i will pray for the rest of my fellow vet’s also

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  8. Patrick Reply

    try COPD and cancer they hid from me for over 18 months until it was just found by an outside fee based clinic these guys need some of there own treatment . I get blood work at least 6 times a year since i have also had my 6 minor disc issue and “slightly” broken neck turn into 18 out of 24 disc bad and my neck has almost fallen off my shoulders while they prescribe asprin until i forced them to let me see a pain doctor. it 2 hospitaLIZATIONS FOR MY HEART CONDITION I HAD BEFORE I STARTED va TREATMENT AND OVER A YEAR TO EVEN GET TO SEE A CARDOLOGIST

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  10. Johnny Reply

    Being a 100% disabled, I have many problems,Itak alot of med. plus insulin. It took almost a year for the VA tolet me know of this. I have been to the VA many times and had may blood tested, even after i recieved the letter. I had my blood tajken for may basic test, i even ask for the test, they said they would do the test . I GOT A CALL ABOUT 4 DAYS AGO AND WAS ASKED IF I WANTED THE TEST? WHY DO WE HAFT TO GO THROUGH THIS CRAP.. OUR WE TO JUST SIT AND WAIT FOR THWM TO LET US KNOW , WHEN THEY WONT TO? I AM SCARED, FOR MY LIFE MOSTLY MY FAMILTY , MAY WIFE. CAN’T SLEEP OR EAT,NO WILL TO DO ANYTHING.

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  12. cruzgretchen Reply

    My husband and i recieved the information today that he was one of the patients exposed. After being at the V.A. in November with rectal problems.. a few weeks later the news came out about this matter at that time we called the V.A. to see if he was one of the 6400 patients. We where told no..but today at his visit for the same problem he was told he was one of them and needed to get blood work..This V.A. in very incompiatant. This is the second time he has been exposed to something at that facilty..First when he had a hida scan. Now this.What else are they going to do to him..kill him?

  13. Cary Reply

    I had a Colonoscopy at the Buffalo, NY VAMC, and had a severe Ecoli infection a few days after the procedure. This affected urinary tract. The VAMC Emergency room doctor told me I had gonnoria. The ER doctor told me my wife was cheating. I told him no way, I know my wife. He told me my wife was cheating on me, and that was the only way I could have gotten it. I received antibiotics. The VA never called me back and told me I had an E coli infection and that I didn’t have gonnoria..

  14. Nancy Reply

    I have serious trouble getting adequate care and respect from the VA. I am so fed up with it, I have started a group on facebook called Veterans Against Poor VA Healthcare. http://www.aboutlawsuits.com/va-clinic-colonoscopy-infection-risk-2786/ Please join me in raising our voices and take it wherever we might need to in order to change things. The group is there to provide support to each other also.

  15. Nancy Reply

    My problem began shortly after I purchased my sebring convertible new 2002; AT 24,000 miles the car stopped on my; no warning, etc. Chrysler tried to put the onus on myself-I went thorugh local advocasy groups-consumer affairs; center for auto; and put a reconditioned Jasper engine in….despite doing oil changes at 3,000 miles-that engine made clincking noises and it too went. Jasper engine was replaced, I am now on my 3rd engine. Novermber, my thermostat went up into red. Again, the water pump/ coolant is effecting my car. Another $1500. DON’T BUY CHRYSLER-THEY WILL NOT HONOR WARRANTIES

  16. george Reply

    doble the cases, the goverment allways lied. they threat vet like garbage and aliiens like cubans that never did nothing for this country have more benefits..what a shame

  17. charles Reply

    I’m due for one on aug 2rd 2010, should I take it or what??

  18. charles Reply

    I’m due to have one on Oct 1, 2010.. no way!!!

  19. kevin Reply

    colonoscopy with biopsies taken, followed by virtual colonograghy, perforation, peritonitis , colectomy, illeostomy times 2, absesses, fistulas, veterans hospital saved me . Beware of U.C.

  20. Eric Reply

    I’m a 62 year old vet and had several colonoscopies and indoscopes done over the years and tested positive for HIV in 2001, I was being tested because I recived a needle stick at work, but was told I couldn’t get it that way because it was a lanset (flat blade) I read the Artical in the Sentinal and brought it to the attention of my attending physian at the VA, because I have had many discussions with him on how I could have aquired it, but he discounted it……

  21. kevin Reply

    colon perforation from virtual colonoscopy . however the va caught the problem before i died. uc students forgot the term.’DO NO HARM’

  22. Allan Reply

    My wife had 2 colonoscopies. One in 2008 and one in 2009. In 2009 chlamidia was found at the top of her small intestine. The Doctor basically blamed the patient and told her not to tell me. The first colonoscopy was done at the Durham VAMC.in 2008. This was the right time fram for all the infections, but I do not know of any others in Durham. If we have a case I sure would like to know it. Are there any others infected from the Durham VAMC?

  23. Eric Reply

    I was stuck by a lanset at work, and went to a clinic to be tested for HIV and tested negative (1998) and was suppose to be test on a regular basiss, but the clinic never set my return appointments. This was workman’s comp and they where resposible to set my appointments. Then I went into the same clinic for a different reason in 2001 and they told me at that time I should have been on regular appointments for testing and that they dropped the ball. They asked me if I wanted to be tested and I agreed–I then tested positive. Because I am a 50% vet I began treatments at the Va. I had many disscussions with my doctor about how I aquired HIV. And one point he brought up was that I couldn’t get it from a flat blade such as a lanset (diabeties). Then I heard about the colonoscopy feasco with The three Hospitals mentioned in the newpaper in the Orlando Sentinal. I brought this up to my infectious desiese doctor who has been treating me, because I remember the one I had in 2001 was antiiquated compared to further one’s I got after that one and he totally got upset with me and said it was out of the question….I believe I got HIV from that Colonoscapy….But as they say I can”t prove it

  24. A sister with questions Reply

    I have a loved one who just found out about the colonoscopy infection out break in GA. He was one of the ones who was infected. We have no clue what to do from here? Can you please give us the name of a lawer anything to help us along.. Please Help us

  25. kevin Reply

    perforated by virtual colonoscopy .Then kicked to the gutter by va fresno.

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