USAFA Medical Clinic warns of potential health risks for patients who had recent procedures

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — The U.S. Air Force Academy’s Medical Clinic and the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System are notifying 267 gastrointestinal endoscopy patients about potential health risks associated with procedures at the Academy’s GI Clinic between June through September 2016

This precautionary notification applies to service members, retirees, veterans and family members after a discovery of a diversion from standard pre-cleaning protocols for a scope used in endoscopy procedures.

The Academy clinic and ECHCS immediately investigated the situation. Although the high-level disinfection was completed on all scopes, a step in the pre-cleaning process may have been omitted, according to officials.

All 19 scopes were thoroughly checked and found to be free of any infectious material. Air Force Medical Service and VA infectious diseases experts determined the risk to be very low, but not zero.

“While the risk to potentially impacted patients is very low, it cannot be discounted entirely,” said Colonel Walter Matthews, Air Force Academy command surgeon. “We take any potential risk to patient safety very seriously.”

All patients who had a GI endoscopy at the clinic during the period mentioned earlier will be contacted by either an Air Force or VA provider and informed of potential risks as well as offered testing.

Officials say of the 261 patients potentially impacted, 206 were under the care of USAFA’s Medical Clinic and the remaining 61 patients are affiliated with the VA.

The clinic has placed all GI endoscopy procedures on hold until the issue has been resolved.

Additionally, the VA and Academy medical clinic are coordinating with the endoscope manufacturer to provide retraining and recertification on the cleaning of the scopes.

All other procedures performed at the clinic are unaffected.

If you have questions or concerns, contact the GI Clinic between 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 719-333-5140 or 719-333-5138.

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