Last year it came to light that certain Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Hospitals and Medical Clinics have had problems with their sterilization processes of medical equipment. The Miami VA Hospital was 1 of 3 in the Southeast where lacking sterilization methods may have affected veterans. Last week the Miami VA notified 79 veterans of possible exposure to Hepatitis or HIV due to their failure to use sterile equipment.
The VA refers to the situation as “inexcusable” as Mary Berrocal, Miami VA Hospital System director, was temporarily removed from her post. Of all those veterans in the Southeast who had colonoscopy procedures between May 2004 and March, 2009, 2400 of them occurred at the Miami VA.
When the original problem was uncovered, veterans were notified. As it turns out, 79 veterans never received their notice of exposure, which included letters and educational materials. As a result, these veterans were never offered the testing made available to all other exposed veterans.
Despite the Miami VA spokespeople claiming no one was harmed or infected through the procedures using the unsterile equipment, they are rushing to get a hold of those missed 79 veterans.
So far, Berrocal is the only person who has faced any type of punishment. The investigation into why these 79 veterans were overlooked the first time will take the next 2 months to complete. Following that, only time will tell how the Miami VA’s administration will be changed, if at all.
If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, contact LaVan & Neidenberg. You may be entitled to certain programs and benefits so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.