At the Tomah, Wisconsin Veterans Affairs hospital Tuesday afternoon, officials revealed 600 veterans who were patients may have been infected with different types of disease, such as Hepatitis and HIV, due to violations in infection control procedures. The Tomah VA said the veterans may have been exposed to these diseases due to one particular dental provider.
According to Acting Medical Center Director Victoria Brahm, the dentist was using his own equipment instead of VA issued instruments for an entire year. The dentist then reused the equipment for following patients, which is against the VA’s regulations. The Tomah VA uses sterile and disposable equipment.
A dental assistant became a whistleblower after realizing the malpractices of the dentist. Since then, the dentist has been removed from performing dental practices, but is now working in an administrative role at the hospital. The inspector general will assess for any criminal charges.
Brahm released a full statement on the matter:
“It was purposeful that he was violating VA regulations. During all of the orientation, he used all of our equipment. He used it appropriately, so it was very purposeful from what we found in our investigation that he knew exactly what he was doing, and preferred to use his own equipment against procedure. We have clear evidence that we are moving forward and the people that remain here are very vested and here for the mission of taking care of veterans. There are pockets of improvement that need to occur they still need to I’ll be honest, and we are aware of where they are and we are dealing with them as quickly as we can.”
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