Veteranclaims’s Blog

November 1, 2010

Director of Miami-VA Reassigned Over Tainted Equipment, Returns to Miami-VA

Full Article at: Miami VA official reassigned in scandal returns to post

With no public notice, the Miami Veterans Administration Healthcare director who was reassigned during a scandal over tainted equipment returns to her post.

BY FRED TASKER
ftasker@MiamiHerald.com

Mary Berrocal, director of the Miami Veterans Administration Healthcare System who was temporarily reassigned in July during a scandal in which thousands of South Florida veterans were given colonoscopies with improperly cleaned equipment, was back on the job Friday.

It happened quietly. The announcement was made internally, without public notice. VA officials at the local, regional and national levels failed to return phone calls and e-mails seeking comment.

“Effective today, Oct. 29, Ms. Mary Berrocal will resume her duties as director of the Miami VA Healthcare system,” said a Friday memo from Nevin M. Weaver, director of the VA’s VISN 8 healthcare network, which oversees VA healthcare in Florida, South Georgia, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.

In March 2009, the Miami VA hospital sent letters to more than 2,400 veterans saying that colonoscopies performed at the facility since 2004 might have been with equipment that had been rinsed between uses instead of sterilized with chemicals per manufacturer’s instructions.

Colonoscopies were temporarily suspended at the facility. Subsequent testing showed three veterans were HIV positive, seven had hepatitis C and one had hepatitis B.

Doctors, however, stressed there was no way to know whether the vets had contracted them from the colonoscopies.

At the time, Miami VA chief of staff Dr. John Vara suggested human error as a cause, saying some local employees had developed their own — improper — ways of cleaning the equipment.”

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