No patient infections found from unsterile equipment, VA hospital says

The Carl Vinson VA Medical Center in Dublin, Ga., said it has not identified any new infections after warning more than 4,000 patients in February that they may have been exposed to improperly sterilized medical equipment, The Telegraph reported March 4.

After an internal review in January identified gaps in proper medical equipment sterilization processes, the hospital sent a letter to veterans last month who had a procedure there within the last year, offering them free testing for blood-borne illnesses such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. 

Testing is still underway. There have been no confirmed infections tied to the improper sterilization based on tests conducted so far, a spokesperson for the Dublin VA told The Telegraph. 

"Any veteran who has a test indicating potential infection will have their sample analyzed to determine if the transmission is recent or older," said James Huckfeldt, the hospital's deputy public affairs officer. "The findings from the additional testing will be used to accurately diagnose any impacted veterans and ensure that they receive appropriate medical treatment."

The Augusta (Ga.) VA Medical Center sent a team to reprocess all equipment at the Dublin VA in January, and all staff at the hospital have since been retrained on proper sterilization processes, The Telegraph reports.

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