The VA colonoscopy problem...

Thanks to Mike for keeping up with the blog over the past few days—I’ve been out of commission for a several reasons, including an ill-advised decision to finally take the exam for certification by the American Board of Medical Microbiology. Now I’m leaving the country for a couple weeks, so it will be Mike’s blog until early July.

When I return, I may address the brewing political overreaction to the VA colonoscopy mess. I have some personal experience here, being the epidemiologist at one of the VA’s that underwent surprise site visits by the Office of Inspector General (here is the report). In the meantime, I’ll just highlight what I think is the best quote I’ve read on this so far, from Philip Alcabes, associate professor of urban public health at Hunter College in New York City:
“To claim that an extra threat of transmitting blood-borne viruses pertains to the VA's colonoscopy clinics seems like showmanship. Since it isn't clear that any patients were actually infected by this equipment, the situation doesn't seem to warrant special rhetoric. It would be better to try to separate the political controversy from the actual health problem here."


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