Nearly 600 veterans who received dental care at the Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Wisconsin may have been infected with HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C due to violations in infection control procedures, according to VA administrators.
The Tomah VA says it’s in the process of notifying 592 veterans that they may be infected after the dentist failed to properly sterilize his equipment from October 2015 through October 2016. Fox News Insider reports.
Acting Medical Center Director Victoria Brahm said the dentist was using his own equipment, then cleaning it and reusing it, which violates the VA’s regulations.advertisement - story continues below
The VA is offering free screenings to those veterans and will provide free medical treatment to those who test positive for an infection.
The dentist has been removed from patient care and is now working in an administrative role.
On “The Kelly File” tonight, Pete Hegseth, who’s rumored to be on President-elect Donald Trump’s shortlist for VA secretary, said this is more evidence that the agency needs system-wide reworking.
“It is a systemic failure at a bureaucracy that can’t care for veterans because of a single-payer, top-down, government-run system that puts the bureaucracy in front of the veteran,” Hegseth said.advertisement - story continues below
“The answers are there. You just have to have the courage to fight for it against the entrenched interests in Washington.”
The VA also referred the case to the inspector general for assessment of any criminal charges, WEAU reports.
Acting Medical Center Director Victoria Brahm said the dentist was using his own equipment, then cleaning it and reusing it, which violates the VA’s regulations.
“It was purposeful that he was violating VA regulations,” Brahm said. “During all of the orientation, he used all of 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 procedure.”advertisement - story continues below
Brahm told reporters that the Tomah VA has made improvements but still has others to make.
“We have clear evidence that we are moving forward and the people that remain here are very vested and here for the mission of taking care of veterans,” she said. “There are pockets of improvement that need to occur they still need to I’ll be honest, and we are aware of where they are and we are dealing with them as quickly as we can.”