VA hospital may have infected 1,800 vets with HIV, Hep B, Hep C

A Missouri VA hospital may have exposed more than 1,800 veterans to life-threatening diseases such as hepatitis and HIV.

The John Cochran VA Medical Center is St. Louis is sending notification letters to 1,812 veterans from Missouri and Illinois who received dental work at the hospital between February, 2009, and March, 2010, to let them know that they may have contracted Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, or HIV.

The issue stems from a failure to clean dental instruments properly, the hospital said in a statement to media.

Dr. Gina Michael, the associate chief of staff at the VA hospital, told a local media affiliate that some dental technicians broke protocol by hand-washing tools before putting them in cleaning machines.

The hospital is now offering free blood tests to screen for the diseases.

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