Part of the Article:::
"VA clinic warns of possible contaminant exposure
February 13, 2009 10:20 PM EST
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - Thousands of patients at a Veterans Administration clinic in Tennessee may have been exposed to the infectious body fluids of other patients when they had colonoscopies in recent years, and now VA medical facilities all over the U.S. are reviewing their own procedures.
A spokesman at the Alvin C. York VA Medical Center in Murfreesboro, Tenn., said the clinic is offering free blood tests and medical care to all patients whose records show they had colonoscopies between April, 23, 2003 and Dec. 1, 2008.
Christopher Conklin said in a telephone interview Friday that notification letters were sent this week by registered mail to 6,378 patients of the Murfreesboro facility. He said no related health problems have been reported, and every measure is being taken to assure that affected veterans are screened.
VA officials also said a problem was found with equipment at an ear, nose and throat clinic at the VA medical center in Augusta, Ga., and 1,800 veterans have been notified they may have been exposed to infection there.
One veteran who received notification from the Murfreesboro clinic, Gary Simpson, 57, said, "The fact that it took five years for them to catch a mistake like that - it seems like somebody should have caught an incorrect valve and incorrect cleaning of the equipment during that time." His wife Janice called the discovery "sickening" and "horrifying."