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Colonoscopy Lawsuit Against Miami VA Hospital Goes To Trial

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Air Force veteran Robert Metzler has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit in Miami federal court, alleging that Miami Veterans Administration hospital have him hepatitis C during a colonoscopy procedure performed with improperly cleaned equipment. The case in currently in court.

According to the Miami Herald, more than 11,000 U.S. veterans received colonoscopies with improperly cleaned equipment at VA hospitals in Miami, Murfreesboro, Tennessee and Augusta, Georgia between 2004 and 2009. So far, five vets have tested positive for HIV, 25 for hepatitis C and 8 for hepatitis B. Meltzer’s lawsuit is the first of what some  believe will be hundreds of lawsuits filed.

In a previously settled lawsuit, U.S. Army veteran Juan Rivera sued after being found HIV positive after having a colonoscopy at the Miami VA hospital. His lawsuit asked for $20 million. The amount of that settlement agreement has not been revealed.

In 2009 the VA Administration Investigation Board revealed that colonoscopy equipment at the three hospitals were being rinsed after each procedure instead of being sterilized by steam and chemicals, as required by the manufacturer. Investigators took apart the equipment that was cleaned and ready for use, and found “discolored liquid and debris.”

According to the filing, Metzler had a blood test in August 2006 that showed no sign of hepatitis C, the colonoscopy was done in June 2007, and he was notified in March 2009 that he needed to come in for testing because the endoscope used in his procedure may have been contaminated. The next month he was told he had hepatitis C.

According to the lawsuit, Metzler  suffers from fatigue, dry skin, insomnia, hot flashes and virus like symptoms. He also worries about liver damage and cancer. Metzler is asking for $20 million for himself and $10 million for his wife for loss of consortium. disclaimer: This article: Colonoscopy Lawsuit Against Miami VA Hospital Goes To Trial was posted on Monday, July 11th, 2011 at 9:11 pm at and is filed under Medical Malpractice Lawsuits.

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