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Florida Veteran Awarded $1.25 Million in Colonoscopy Lawsuit

Posted on November 26, 2012

A Florida Air Force veteran, who sued the U.S. government after claiming that he contracted hepatitis C after a colonoscopy procedure at the Miami Veterans Administration Medical Center, has been awarded $1.25 million by a U.S. District Court judge.

The judge, in a non-jury trial, ruled that the veteran had most likely contracted hepatitis during the procedure because the Miami center’s staff had not properly cleaned the colonoscopy equipment. A Veterans Administration investigation revealed that some 11,000 veterans had received colonoscopies from improperly sterilized equipment at VA hospitals in Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee between 2004 and 2009.

Allegedly, the VA hospitals in question did not sterilize the equipment using steam and chemicals after each use, as called for by the manufacturer, but merely rinsed it off instead. Investigators who inspected some of the equipment found that water tubes that were supposed to be sterile still had “discolored liquid and debris” in them.

The 70-year-old veteran received the colonoscopy in 2007 and tested positive for hepatitis C in 2009. He had tested negative for the virus the year before his colonoscopy.

The judge awarded the settlement despite testimony from a U.S. Attorney’s Office expert witness who claimed that there was less than “a zero percent chance” that the veteran had contracted the disease from the colonoscopy.

While the judge acknowledged that the odds of receiving the virus in this manner were low, he said the veteran had shown no other risk factors for hepatitis C infection before he was diagnosed.

Many more cases remain in court in Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee from veterans claiming they were harmed by unsanitary colonoscopies.

If you believe you’ve suffered permanent harm due to the negligence of a hospital or medical facility, you have a legal right to seek compensation for your injuries. The medical malpractice attorneys at Farah & Farah are here to help you and your family. Call us at (800) 533-3555 for a free review of your case and a discussion of your legal options.