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VA Dentist May Have Infected Hundreds Of Veterans With HIV, Hepatitis
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.
The dentist is no longer seeing patients and was reassigned to administrative duties. In a statement, the VA said actions were pending to “ensure that those responsible for this serious breach of patient trust are held accountable.”
“Failure to follow established infection control procedures is not acceptable, and we take the safety of our patients seriously,” Victoria Brahm, director of the Tomah VA hospital, said in a written statement. “We are deeply sorry for the concern this has caused veterans and their families.”
Veterans with questions should call 888-598-7793.
Last year, the Tomah VA came under fire for overprescribing opioids, with some dubbing the hospital “Candyland.” An inspector general’s report faulted the hospital for the accidental overdose death of a Marine Corps veteran.
“We have clear evidence that we are moving forward,” Brahm told reporters at a news conference earlier this week. “There are pockets where improvements still need to occur, I’ll be really honest.”
Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., responded to the news Thursday afternoon by saying it was an egregious instance of “botched care.”
Miller is the chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. He helped to draft the $10 billion Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 in response to the VA wait-time scandal, and President-elect Donald Trump said during his campaign he was considering Miller for VA Secretary.
In a statement Thursday, Miller criticized the department for not holding its employees accountable.
He also plugged a bill he sponsored and pushed through the House earlier this year that would make it easier for the VA to discipline or fire poor-performing employees. The bill has not been taken up in the Senate.
©2016 the Stars and Stripes. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
‘I made promises to the people that I lost’— How the Iraq war forged a Navy SEAL’s path to Harvard Medical School and NASA
Navy Lt. Jonny Kim went viral last week when NASA announced that he and 10 other candidates (including six other service members) became the newest members of the agency's hallowed astronaut corps. A decorated Navy SEAL and graduate of Harvard Medical School, Kim in particular seems to have a penchant for achieving people's childhood dreams.
However, Kim shared with Task & Purpose that his motivation for living life the way he has stems not so much from starry-eyed ambition, but from the pain and loss he suffered both on the battlefields of Iraq and from childhood instability while growing up in Los Angeles. Kim tells his story in the following Q&A, which was lightly edited for length and clarity:
You can almost smell the gunpowder in the scene captured by a Marine photographer over the weekend, showing a Marine grunt firing a shotgun during non-lethal weapons training.
A Marine grunt stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina is being considered for an award after he saved the lives of three people earlier this month from a fiery car crash.
Cpl. Scott McDonell, an infantry assaultman with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, was driving down Market Street in Wilmington in the early morning hours of Jan. 11 when he saw a car on fire after it had crashed into a tree. Inside were three victims aged 17, 20, and 20.
"It was a pretty mangled wreck," McDonell told ABC 15. "The passenger was hanging out of the window."
New Vietnam War movie 'The Last Full Measure' takes some well-deserved shots at the military’s award process
Todd Robinson's upcoming Vietnam War drama, The Last Full Measure, is a story of two battles: One takes place during an ambush in the jungles of Vietnam in 1966, while the other unfolds more than three decades later as the survivors fight to see one pararescueman's valor posthumously recognized.
With ISIS trying to reorganize itself into an insurgency, most attacks on U.S. and allied forces in Iraq are being carried out by Shiite militias, said Air Force Maj. Gen. Alex Grynkewich, the deputy commander for operations and intelligence for U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria.
"In the time that I have been in Iraq, we've taken a couple of casualties from ISIS fighting on the ground, but most of the attacks have come from those Shia militia groups, who are launching rockets at our bases and frankly just trying to kill someone to make a point," Grynkewich said Wednesday at an event hosted by the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.