This is an article I've copied....this story broke a couple of weeks ago and initially was local to one VAMC....now it appears that the VA is saying it could be nationwide and is telling ALL VETS who have had a colonoscopy in the past 10 years at any VAMC to be tested. Please read!!! Please get tested if this applies to you! Vets are already sick!
As we've watched the "colonoscopy story" unfold over the past few months, it has become obvious that the VA is lost in a bureaucratic boondoggle of its own making.
VA hospitals have been performing colonoscopy procedures with possibly contaminated equipment.
First was Murfreesboro then Miami.
At Murfreesboro, the VA withheld information. The press had to dig it out with the help of the veteran community.
At Miami, the VA came forward and made the information public, gaining praise (including mine)... then we found out that Miami had self-reported "no problems," only to have to change that report.
What we know is that veterans who had the colonoscopy procedure at two VA hospitals might have been exposed to viral contamination. (And, veterans at other VA facilities have possibly been exposed by other endoscopic procedures.)
What we don't know could fill volumes.
Now, we are waiting for the VA to report on the self-reports from the facilities who perform colonoscopies... if they ever release it at all.
A VA spokesperson was quizzed on the possibility of a nationwide problem and replied, "We don't know for certain."
Neither do veterans... which presents a problem.
It appears VA facilities had different procedures for cleaning equipment, or had the same procedures but didn't follow them.
It appears VA facilities are using different self-reporting procedures about how they cared for the equipment, or had the same self-reporting guidelines but weren't following them.
As you can see, the number of variables takes the number of possibilities off the chart.
So, as VA delays, and veterans wait for information... VA Watchdog dot Org urges a pro-active stance.
We recommend (one step up from a suggestion) that all veterans who have had a colonoscopy in the past ten years be screened for HIV, and hepatitis B and C. This would also apply to those who have had other endoscopic procedures.
The reason is simple: The only way to know is to take the tests.
Setting the example, I called my VA Primary Care Clinic on the afternoon of Friday, March 27, 2009. I spoke with the Team nurse and asked to be screened for HIV, and hepatitis B and C.
She sounded a bit puzzled at first, then I explained that I have had four colonoscopies in the past 12 years, and given the current concern about possibly contaminated equipment I felt the screenings were necessary. She agreed and is sending the requests to the lab. I'll be tested in a few days.
We recommend veterans who have any concern about exposure to disease do the same.
The blood tests are simple. You will have to sign a waiver for the HIV screening.
As VA delays, it's time for us to act.
From one veteran to another... protect yourself and make sure our Brothers and Sisters are protected.
NOTE: As this article was being written, VA announced that now 16 infected veterans have been identified... ten at Murfreesboro who got a colonoscopy... and six in Augusta who had an ENT endoscopic procedure.
This is a horrble story ..I will pass this information on to the Vets in my family also friends,it will be worth the blood test for them to know, I am so sorry about this latest test they have to go through.
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