Hospital officials: St. Louis VA medical center is safe

Thursday, February 17, 2011 | 7:40 a.m. CST; updated 10:54 a.m. CST, Thursday, February 17, 2011

ST. LOUIS — Officials at the John Cochran VA Medical Center in St. Louis say that despite recent sterilization problems, veterans need to understand the hospital is safe.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the hospital offered a tour to reporters on Wednesday. Officials said the biggest problem now is a crisis in confidence.

Last year, the hospital sent letters to 1,812 veterans potentially exposed to HIV and hepatitis due to faulty sterilization in its dental clinic. And on Feb. 2, another sterilization concern forced the hospital to suspend surgeries, which remain on hold.

Officials say up to 70 patients have had operations canceled since stains were found on surgical trays and tools earlier this month. About one-third of those veterans have received operations at other hospitals, at the VA's expense.




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