A VA healthcare system in Pennsylvania has sparked a biomedical controversy after destroying 4,000 research specimens which it said were inadequately labeled. The samples were located on the site of the Special Pathogens Laboratory at the VA Medical Center, which closed last year. A statement from the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System said that the organization destroyed only samples that weren't clearly labeled and identified, "to protect the safety of VA Pittsburgh patients and staff." The move, however, has drawn public protests from Dr. Victor Yu, former chief of the VA's infectious disease section and a renowned expert on Legionnaire's disease. Yu, who had worked for the Special Pathogens lab, had wanted to move his Legionnaire's and other samples to the University of Pittsburgh, where he continues his research efforts. Yu has described the destruction of the samples as a "major scientific tragedy."
To learn more about the controversy:
- read this Associated Press article