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1,800 Vets at Risk for HIV, Hepatitis Through VA Hospital


St. Louis, MO: A Veteran's Association hospital in Missouri has reportedly exposed more than 1,800 veterans to life-threatening viral infections, specifically hepatitis and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), through possible malpractice.

According to a recent report on CNN.com, John Cochran VA Medical Center in St. Louis has mailed out letters to 1,812 veterans warning them that they could contract these infections as a result of undergoing routine dental work at the medical center. The issue reportedly stems from dental instruments being cleaned by hand, which is not hospital protocol.

According to Dr. Gina Michael, the association chief of staff at the hospital, some dental technicians broke protocol by handwashing tools before putting them in cleaning machines. Protocol apparently states that the dental instruments should only be cleaned in the designated machines. This breach in hospital protocol took place between February 2009 and March 2010.

The Democratic representative for Missouri, Russ Carnahan, is calling for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the breach of protocol, and has reportedly notified President Obama of the situation.

"This is absolutely unacceptable," Carnahan, told CNN. "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."

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Published on Jul-8-10

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