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Unsterilized dental instruments used on local VA patients

By William Cole

LAST UPDATED: 10:49 a.m. HST, Jun 27, 2014

Twenty patients at the Veterans Affairs Pacific Islands Health Care system were potentially exposed to blood-borne pathogens in May after dental instruments that were "clean" but had not completed the sterilization process were used, the VA said on Friday.

"Although the risk is determined to be extremely low, (VA) staff will contact those patients to disclose this incident," the VA said in a notification to congressional members.

For exposed patients who desire testing, blood tests for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and HIV will be administered with a scheduled follow-up at 13 weeks and six months, the VA said.

"VA sincerely apologizes to veterans who may have been affected," the federal agency said.

The VA Pacific Islands Health Care System patients were exposed to the unsterilized dental equipment on May 23 and 27, the VA said.

"Per standard procedure, the instruments had been sent to the Tripler Army Medical Center Central Materiel Service for sterilization processing, and when they were returned to the facility, Dental Department staff failed to notice wrapping indicated the instruments had been cleaned but not completely sterilized," the VA said.

"Review of the patient log indicated that the instruments potentially were used in minimally invasive, routine dental procedures on twenty patients before being discovered on May 27."

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DanLBoom wrote:
Unsterilized dental equipment?pety story Imua
on June 27,2014 | 10:38AM
1coconut wrote:
Does this surprise anyone. The VA is no better than a third world country.
on June 27,2014 | 11:04AM
South76 wrote:
Guess what the Obamacare will give us the same kind of treatment where no one is accountable.
on June 27,2014 | 01:10PM
Have you ever had any work done at a VA hospital? I have had several proceedures done, and not once would I ever compare it to a 2rd world country. For that matter have you ever been in a hospital in a 3rd world country? If not, then I dont know how you can make an accusation like that.
on June 27,2014 | 05:11PM
buttery wrote:
you get what you don't pay for!
on June 27,2014 | 12:35PM
VikkiP wrote:
IRT to Buttery I hope you contract a disease, sounds like you are one of those people who has not served but one of those who hides behind the sacrifices that myself and other veterans that have given you. You sir are a piece of!!!!!!!!!!!!!
on June 27,2014 | 12:58PM
kailuadog wrote:
I believe that I have in fact paid for my VA health care through my service to my country, as have all service members, and found your comment to be insulting.
on June 27,2014 | 01:37PM
cojef wrote:
Righto! Every servicemen or honorably discharged veteran deserve the best health care.
on June 27,2014 | 02:34PM
Winston wrote:
And this is what some deems have been touting as the ideal example of what single payer government medical care would be like?
on June 27,2014 | 12:36PM
kailuadog wrote:
Instead of brushing it under the rug, it seems to me the VA stepped up to the plate on this one, acknowledged the problem, and is actually taking steps to do something. Yeah, it shouldn't have happened, but lots of potentially hazardous things that shouldn't happen everyday. When was the last time any of us ever had a 100% all the time perfect record? Machines fail, people make mistakes they never intend to make. In my book only God is always perfect. I get my dental care at the VA and I have always felt very well cared for and been treated with the utmost respect. By taking the lead on this and not covering up they done the right thing.
on June 27,2014 | 01:32PM
Well said dog. I agree. Too many people think they are perfect and that is just not the case. Things happen, and yet people always on their high horse of accountability and hang em high attitudes. These are usually the people that would never consider the notion of acceptance of a human error.
on June 27,2014 | 05:16PM
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