Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America

JWV National Commander Novoselsky Demands Accountability for Putting Patients at Risk

in the VA Health Care System



April 2008

JWV National Commander Ira Novoselsky, appalled at news that patients at the Miami Veterans Hospital may have been put at risk for HIV or hepatitis due to improperly cleansed colonoscopy instruments, is demanding answers from the VA.

NC Novoselsky's concern was raised by news that for almost 5 years, from May 2004 to March 12, 2009, 11 of 41 endoscopes at the facility were not sanitized properly and may have put patients at risk for life-threatening diseases that could be especially devastating for those with compromised immune systems. This was a failure involving one-quarter of these instruments over a protracted period, not just a random problem of short duration.

Adding to the consternation over this news from Miami that over 3,200 veterans may have been exposed to possible infection are similar long-standing problems in VA hospitals in Tennessee and Georgia that have recently come to light.

As Commander Novoselsky has commented, "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."

While the JWV is pleased that the VA Inspector General has launched an investigation into how this unconscionable situation occurred and how it can be prevented in the future, that a situation like this occurred at all is unacceptable.

The VA Health Care System, whose duty is to care for those who have given so much to defend the freedoms that we enjoy, must be held to the highest possible standard. Veterans who have served in harm's way against our enemies must never again be placed in harm's way in a system that is supposed to serve their medical needs.

 

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