Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America

JWV Alarmed over Results Confirming Veterans’ Infections for HIV and Hepatitis

April 2009

The Jewish War Veterans of the USA (JWV) recently demanded accountability for putting patients at risk in the VA health care system by the use of improperly sanitized instruments in Florida, Tennessee, and Georgia. At that time the process of screening all of those who had been put at risk had just begun.

At that time, JWV National Commander Ira Novoselsky said, "Our veterans, who deserve the best possible care for their service to our country, have instead been put at increased risk for serious infection and disease. Such a failure of the VA Medical System is unacceptable, and fixing this situation and seeing that it never recurs must be our highest priority."

The fears of the JWV have been realized, and, as of today, three of the patients who had been screened have tested positive for HIV; six have tested positive for Hepatitis B, and 19 have tested positive for Hepatitis C. Since all of the tests have not been completed, these numbers could rise even higher.

The JWV commends the VA over the speed with which it is conducting its investigation. The JWV agrees with the VA that there can never be proof positive that these infections were caused by the improper sanitization of instruments at VA facilities, but the VA put these veterans and more than 10,000 others at risk for severe disease, and the VA must bear the responsibility for their illness and for their treatment.

The JWV will continue to monitor the situation carefully to ensure that the VA is accountable to these veterans for the best possible care and that any and all who are at risk are monitored, tested, and treated appropriately as necessary.

The veterans who have sustained these conditions should immediately be granted a 100% disability for life.

The VA and the country owe them no less. Never again should our nation's heroes be treated in this despicable and cavalier manner.

 

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