VA hospital will test more than 500 veterans for HIV, Hepatitis
A Dayton, Ohio veterans hospital will offer free HIV and Hepatitis tests to more than 500 dental patients to determine whether they were infected between 1992 and 2010 by a dentist who failed to change gloves and sterilize tools between patients, the Dayton Daily News reports.
Any veterans who are infected will be treated for free, said Dr. George Arana, acting assistant deputy undersecretary for health operations and clinical management for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The news is just the latest in a series of infection control crises that have occurred at VA hospitals. It comes less than a week after a VA hospital in St. Louis canceled surgery after dirty tools were discovered. Last summer, officials at that same VA hospital, John Cochran Veterans Administration Hospital, revealed that more than 1,800 veterans were at risk for HIV due to improperly washed dental equipment.
Guy Richardson, the Dayton VA director, and Arana could not say why the infection control issue went on 18 years without being detected by internal reviews, the Dayton Daily News reports. Nor did they identify the dentist who did not sterilize burs--rotary cutting instruments used to drill out decay, shape cavities, and adjust or remote prostheses or dentures--between patients.
Although a clinical review board said 535 veterans might be at risk of infection, the VA is scrutinizing 150 more records to see if more veterans might be at risk.
The Dayton VA set up a toll-free number for appointments and plans to open a "dental communication center" staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week and a dental special care clinic.
To learn more:
- read the Associated Press story
- here's the Dayton Daily News story
VA hospital cancels surgeries after discovery of dirty tools
Veterans hospital plagued with problems
More than 1,800 veterans at risk for HIV due to VA hospital