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Miami VA hospital seeks at-risk veterans

May 29, 2009 at 11:21 AM

MIAMI, May 29 (UPI) -- The Veterans Administration hospital in Miami says it's trying to contact 216 veterans at risk from improperly cleaned colonoscopy equipment.

The equipment may have infected veterans who received colonoscopies at the hospital between May 2004 and March of this year, The Miami Herald reported Friday.

Hospital officials have been unable to reach 216 of the 2,500 veterans considered at risk for hepatitis and HIV because of the unsterilized equipment.

In June, the hospital is sending seven nurses to the last known addresses of the veterans, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., said Thursday after a briefing at the hospital.

Three Miami veterans have tested positive for HIV and eight for hepatitis, the Herald reported. While there is no way to scientifically link the infections to VA equipment, the hospital has promised to care for each infected veteran for life.

"It is squarely on them to begin the process of gaining back the public trust," Ros-Lehtinen said.

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