A VETERANS’ hospital in St. Louis has come under fire after revealing it may have exposed more than 1800 dental care patients to life-threatening diseases including hepatitis and HIV.
The veterans, who received treatment at the St Louis VA Medical Center, were mailed by the hospital’s executive team after it was discovered dental equipment was not being properly sterilised between February 1, 2009, and March 10, 2010.
The risk, described as “extremely low,” resulted in the hospital offering serology testing for hepatitis B, C and HIV to 1,812 veterans, Fox News Channel reported.
While the equipment was being sterilised by the hospital, the procedures used did not conform to manufacturer guidelines.
A statement said: “VA’s primary focus, as always, has been on the safety and care of our veterans. VA leadership recognises the seriousness of this situation and has implemented safeguards to prevent a similar situation from occurring again.”
The hospital provides health care to more than 50,000 veterans a year, it said, adding that “the dental clinic equipment issue does not reflect the level of care provided by the more than 2,600 dedicated medical center staff.”