16 June 2009

U.S. House Veterans' Affairs subcommittee holds hearing on bungled medical procedures

Today the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the U.S. House Committee on Veterans' Affairs held a hearing on heaps of bungled endoscopy procedures at Dept of Veterans' Affairs medical facilities across the nation. There were two panels of witnesses appearing before the subcommittee. Here is a link to the Committee's website where opening statements of the witnesses can be found. And here is a link to the recorded webcast of today's hearing.

Problems with the medical procedure date back as far as 2003. Earlier this year the VA began notifying patients in three states: Florida, Georgia and Tennessee. The errors which appear to be systemic were discovered in January of this year and stem from a failure to properly train medical personnel and follow correct guidelines. In certain cases medical personnel were not properly cleaning equipment between procedures and possibly contaminating other sterile components as well as patients. Those who underwent the procedure, which are approximately 10,000, have been advised to get blood tests for hepatitis and HIV.

Six veterans have already tested positive for HIV, 13 have tested positive for hepatitis B and 34 are positive for hepatitis C. But there is no way to conclusively prove the infections were from the faulty medical procedures. VA Secretary Eric Shinseki appologized to the House subcommittee and said that disciplinary action would be taken against staff.

No comments:

Post a Comment