Sunday, March 29, 2009

VA doesn't sterilize colonscopy machine for 5 years.

This week a big story surfaced in Miami regarding the Miami VA hospital. Evidently, they did not properly sterilize tubing and machines used during endoscopic procedures and colonoscopies for the PAST 5 YEARS. How does that go unnoticed? Well, i will tell you why. Just like any other VA hospital, most of the employees are more concerned with chitchatting, walking the halls, and mistreating veterans. Do you really think that the people responsible for sterilizing the equipment got any punishment or were fired as they should be? We will probably never know. More than likely, they were just shifted to another clinic knowing the VA. No one has to take responsibility for their actions at the VA. It takes an act of Congress to get someone reprimanded or fired from the VA , just like at any other government agency. These people are allowed to mistreat veterans and do their jobs half-assed as they so please. Media is always kept out and off the grounds. The media trucks this week were parked across the street from the VA. It's really hard to report on something when you can't even go on the grounds with a camera. Evidently, this debaucle also occurred at the VA in Murpheesboro, Tennessee and at one other location. Have you seen this on any national media outlet? Of course not. Why is Congressman Meek the only politician giving a news conference about it. Shameful, just shameful. I personally went to all the media trucks and thanked them for covering the story. It is important to get the word out to the more than 3256 veterans who had these procedures so they can come in and get tested for the 3 strains of hepatitis and HIV. Can you imagine a veteran like myself, who has more than 13 chronic illnesses from Desert Storm going to the VA for a colonscopy and being told 5 years later:"Oh , btw, you may have contracted HIV or Hepatitis A,B,C during all the endoscopic procedures you had for the past 5 years because we didn't sterilize the equipment between procedures. We just rinsed the tube out with water and kept on going." Now, I ask you if that was any other citizen going to a regular hospital, they would have gotten a lawyer by now.
The CMO of the hospital won't answer the question from Local 10's Michael Putney (How did this go unnoticed for 5 years?). Why can't the top people at the VA just answer the question.
I called Orlando VA and they said it didn't happen there but how can one really know for sure giving the VA secrecy when it comes to media?
So far between 10-20 vets have tested positive for strains of hepatitis out of the 3 VA hospitals that supposedly were the only ones who didn't sterilize machines properly. To mention another source of stress for veterans is the fact that the blood test results won't be back for 2 weeks!!!!
This again is shameful. Not only does one have to worry about all the procedures they had for the past 5 years but they have to fret and stress for 2 more weeks to find out if they have one of the hepatitis strains and HIV. Think of the consequences when you consider the phrase floating around for HIV. If you have sex with someone with HIV unknowingly and they sleep with someone else and that person gets HIV and then they have other lovers and spread HIV to other people and on and on. Think of the consequences and the possible numbers of people affected indirectly by the actions of these workers at the VA. Who knows how many are affected and what actions they have taken in their private lives unknowingly and possibly spreading these chronic illnesses???? It is just mindboggling and overwhelming to contemplate for most veterans. It should have never happened and unless more veterans have the guts to speak up about things that happen to them at the VA, these things will just continue on and on. Shameful.