If you are one of the hundreds to thousands of veterans who had dental work performed at the St. Louis Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), you may have been exposed to specific viruses. The VA is sending notice to those veterans possibly exposed.
Over 13 months, 1,812 veterans were treated and possibly exposed at the John Cochran hospital’s clinic. The letters explain while the risk of exposure is possible, that risk is still small. Due to dental equipment not being “cleaned correctly,” free blood screening is available for:
- Hepatitis B;
- Hepatitis C; and
The issue was discovered during a March inspection. As a result, dental services were completely suspended between March 11 – March 26. According to St. Louis VA spokeswoman Marcena Gunter, the VA is very “conservative” in their actions and that is why it took them 3 months to notify veterans of possible exposure.
This isn’t the first time the St. Louis VA Medical Center has been in hot water. In 2003 they were placed on “conditional accreditation” following a surprise inspection. In 2007, the St. Louis VA admitted to dealing with poor treatment and run down conditions. What’s worse is this is not the first time the facility has had an issue with the sterilization of their equipment. Last December and January the supply processing department was closed down to train staff and sterilize all endoscopes.
Conservative or not, 3 months is too long to wait to warn people of possible exposure to such things. Given the facility’s history of dealing with sanitization issues, you would think they would be more on the ball with both their medical and dental equipment.
Learn more about the St. Louis VA dental facilities and how they may have exposed veterans to viruses.
If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, contact Veterans Help Group. You may be entitled to certain programs and benefits so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.