ST. LOUIS (AP)- Officials at the St. Louis John Cochran VA Medical Center have gone on the offensive; Wednesday they took reporters on a tour of the facility to say that despite recent sterilization problems, they have  things under control and are continuing an internal investigation. 

In early February unidentifiable stains were found on surgical trays and operating instruments forcing the hospital to cease all surgical operations. 

Veterans scheduled for surgery were transferred to other VA hospitals and other vets were placed on a waiting list. 

The operating theater remains closed and the cost of the sterilization problem is running in to the hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

Rima Nelson, medical center director says they are working hard to regain the confidence of the vet community while at the same time tightening up sterilization procedures to make sure it doesn’t happen again. 

Just last year the Cochran VA had to send out nearly 2,000 letters warning veterans that they may have been exposed to hepatitis and HIV because of a breakdown in clinical sterilization protocol.


Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.


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