VA To Warn Patients About Possible Contamination
The Department of Veterans Affairs this month will send letters to about 1,000 patients treated at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System to inform them that a medical device used in a procedure they underwent might not have been properly disinfected, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. VA will offer the patients tests for hepatitis B and C and HIV.
Patients being contacted underwent prostate biopsies between September 1997 and December 2001. During a routine inspection at a Maine hospital in January, VA found that the disinfecting method being used for the BK prostate biopsy transducer was inadequate.
Stephen Ezeji-Okoye, deputy chief of staff for the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, said that the "chances of accidental exposures are extremely low" and that hospital officials have "found no incidences to date" (Estrella, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/6).