Air Force Academy alerting hundreds of patients about mistake that may lead to disease

The Air Force Academy is notifying hundreds of patients that they are at risk for a number of infectious diseases due to improperly sterilized endoscopy equipment.

The exposure happened with 267 patients at the school’s medical clinic and the Veterans Affairs Eastern Colorado Health Care System, according to Military Times.

All of the patients underwent either colonoscopies or enteroscopies with endoscopes that were properly sanitized but not correctly processed beforehand during the required pre-cleaning protocol. 

Air Force Academy command surgeon Col. Walter Matthews said the risk of infection is low but there is still a risk.

“We take any potential risk to patient safety very seriously and are committed to informing those under our care of any increased risk,” he said.

The Air Force said all patients who had a gastrointestinal endoscopy at the clinic from June through September will be contacted by their Air Force or VA provider to offer testing for a number of diseases associated with contaminated medical equipment.

77% of the patients were under the care of USAFA’s Medical Clinic and the remaining 23% are affiliated with the VA.

According to an Air Force press release, the clinic has placed all GI endoscopy procedures on hold pending an investigation and will retrain and recertify technicians on proper cleaning techniques.

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