The Buffalo VA Medical Center is warning more than 500 patients that they might be at risk for infection after it was discovered a VA employee might not have properly disinfected endoscopes.
The VA is notifying 526 patients about the improperly cleaned equipment, which might have put them at risk for infection. Concerns with inadequately cleaned medical scopes include transmission of hepatitis C and HIV.
The VA is also offering free screenings to those patients, according to a report, and medical center officials said the risk of infection is “very low.”
Also, “Notification does not mean veterans were infected,” medical center officials said in a brief statement on Wednesday, according to the report.
An endoscope is a piece of medical equipment that can be put into the body to give a view of its internal parts.
The employee who didn’t properly disinfect the equipment was “immediately relieved” from the VA.
The VA would not say how this issue was uncovered – it also did not provide details of how many pieces of equipment were affected, the types of procedures the scopes were used for, how long this issue went unresolved, or what steps of the disinfecting procedure were not followed, according to the report.
The issue was uncovered during a recent review of the disinfection process for reusable equipment, the report said.
The Buffalo VA Medical Center opened in 1950 and provides medical, surgical, mental health and long-term care services through a range of inpatient and outpatient programs. It is the main referral center for cardiac surgery, cardiology and comprehensive cancer care for central and western New York and northern Pennsylvania.