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4- - Nearly 600 veterans learned this week that they could have hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV because a Department of Veterans Affairs dentist did not correctly disinfect his equipment over a one-year period, according to a VA statement.
The Tomah VA Medical Center in Wisconsin sent letters to 592 veterans Tuesday informing them of the possible infections, including the virus that causes AIDS. The VA is offering free screenings, and those who test positive will receive free VA treatment.
The VA said risk of infection was low, but it was contacting all veterans who might have been exposed "out of an abundance of caution." As of Thursday, there was not a confirmed case of a veteran contracting an infection from the unsterilized equipment.
Victoria Brahm, acting medical director at the center, said that the dentist was using his own equipment, then cleaning it and reusing it, which violates the VA's regulations that call for the use of sterile and disposable equipment.
The dentist was originally placed on administrative duty, but he has since resigned, according to Journal Sentinel.
Veterans with questions should call 888-598-7793.
This is why I do not use VA doctors. Those so-called physicians graduated at the bottom of their class and the government pass them along to us. Sad to say, I'm not surprised by this news story. I've seen much worse.
I wish I could say this surprises me.