The Tennessean reported February 26 that John Renegar, at 62 a veteran of the Vietnam War and a resident of Smyrna, filed a complaint in US District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee earlier last month. Three other patients have also filed lawsuits, alleging veteran's medical malpractice, negligence and other claims stemming from colonoscopies performed at the hospitals in question.
The plaintiffs in Tennessee and two other states claim that errors stemming from incorrect rigging or cleaning of endoscopic equipment provided a pathway for the transference of waste and bodily fluids from other patients to the plaintiffs.
Renegar, who underwent a colonoscopy at Murfreesboro, tested positive for hepatitis in 2009. According to The Tennessean, the situation has had an impact on the relationship between him and his wife. Described as affectionate before the positive test, now the couple is reported to barely kiss, as a precaution.
It was reported in June 2009 by the VA that 27 patients from Murfreesboro had tested positive for hepatitis. One patient tested positive for HIV. In Miami, the ratio was 11 and three. As for Augusta, the ratio was reported as nine and two, respectively.
Renegar filed a $1.7 million veteran medical malpractice lawsuit, alleging that his infection brought on depression, beyond the physical ramifications of feeling tired all the time. "It gets to the point I can't do any more," he said, in comments to The Tennessean. "I just have to sit down and rest." His infection has affected his job as a maintenance worker at Murfreesboro City Schools.
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And then there is Ben Richard Wilkinson, who claims that the trauma he has experienced simply from the possibility of exposure (he has not tested positive for hepatitis or HIV) has intensified the post-traumatic disorder he already suffers, stemming from his tour of duty in Vietnam.
Following congressional hearings on the VA hospital malpractice issue, new spending was earmarked for patient safety. However, it's been reported that the VA has largely denied any wrongdoing and has refused administrative claims from veterans. Snubbed by the VA, they have no choice but to seek relief through the courts of law.