Hundreds Of VA Patients Might Be Exposed To HIV And Hepatitis, Report Shows (Video)
Roughly 600 patients were exposed to HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C after undergoing dental care.
The patients are now apprehensive after knowing that they being exposed to HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C after receiving dental care at the Wisconsin Veterans Affairs Medical Center. They are now anxious to find out if they are really infected.
Officials said earlier this week that a dentist at the Tomah VA Medical Center inappropriately re-used his personal dental tools instead of the required VA rules -- under the rules that stated that the dentist should be using disposable and sterilized equipment.
Acting medical director from the Tomah VA Center Victoria Brahm said that "It was purposeful that he was violating VA regulations. During all of the orientation, he used our equipment. He used it appropriately, so it was very purposeful from what we found in our investigation that he knew exactly what he was doing, and preferred to use his own equipment against the procedure."
In a report by the WEAU 13 News, the breach in protocol was revealed by the fill-in assistant. However, the dentist is not yet identified but expected to appear in front of a review board as he faces administrative proceedings. This is according to the spokesman for the Tomah VA, Matthew Gowan.
The facility hired the dentist in October 2015 and saw 592 patients. The patients are now notified this week that they may be exposed to HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.
Meanwhile, the VA is now offering free testing and a follow-up care. However, the results of their blood test will take more or less two to three weeks, according to Fox 13.
Gowan added that "The most important part is the actual risk of infection is low here -- it is out of an abundance of caution that we are doing this."
A Wisconsin congressman, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, now questioned why the dentist is not fired. He said that "This news is not just heartbreaking; it's outrageous. How can our veterans be treated so carelessly and where is the accountability? The individual in question has not even been fired a truly stunning show of bureaucratic impunity. This demonstrates once and for all that the VA needs a complete overhaul, so that our veterans finally get the care and the respect they deserve," according to CNN.