Colonoscopies aren’t the most pleasant procedures to begin with,
but they can get a lot more unpleasant if you end up with a chronic illness
as a result. U.S. Air Force Veteran Robert Metzler filed a $30 million
medical malpractice lawsuit against the Miami Veterans’ Administration
hospital, claiming a colonoscopy done with improperly cleaned quipment
gave him hepatitis C. The case just went to trial in Miami, FL, this week.
Sadly, Metzler isn’t alone. Between 2004 and 2009 more than 11,000
colonoscopies were performed with improperly cleaned equipment. These
procedures took place at three VA hospitals, the one in Miami, one in
Murfreesboro, TN, and one in Augusta, GA. These colonoscopies resulted
in 25 cases of hepatitis C, 8 cases of hepatitis B, and 5 cases of HIV
infection. A number of lawsuits have been filed against the VA administration,
but Metzler’s case is the first to go to trial.
The VA admits it used improperly cleaned equipment but denies the colonoscopies
caused the illnesses. For more on this story, see