infected medical equipment an obscene case of hospital negligence

Hospital negligence comes in a lot of different forms, and a Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital in St. Louis seems intent on practicing just about every one of them. In one of the most blatant instances of complete and total disregard for patient safety, about 1,800 war veterans treated at the hospital may have been infected with diseases like HIV and Hepatitis after they were examined with unsanitary equipment.

The hospital’s negligence was discovered during an internal inspection, in which authorities found that a great number of dental tools had been cleaned by hand, with only soap and water. Dentistry experts were appalled and confirmed that all dental tools, after being used on a patient, should have been sanitized in specially designed machines before undergoing sterilization.

According to hospital records, this negligence was far from a new development or even an aberration in the normal flow of things. Dental patients treated between February 1, 2009 and March 11, 2010 – 1,800 in all – each received a letter apologizing for the oversight and asking him or her to return for blood tests.

Thus far, about 100 veterans have come in and received blood tests.

This is not the first case of negligence at a Veterans Affairs hospital. Just over a year ago, thousands of veterans were contacted after contaminated endoscopes were used in about 3,400 colonoscopies.

In St. Louis, additional hospital negligence took the form of medical rags and disposable gloves on the floor, soiled linen mixed with clean and dirty examination tables. Inspectors also discovered patients staying at the hospital who displayed bedsores and signs of infection.

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