Our law firm was recently hired by a military veteran who claims to have been infected with the liver disease Hepatitis C by equipment used to perform colonoscopies at the Veterans Administration (VA) hospital in Miami, Florida.
Last year the VA acknowledged contamination issues with endoscopic equipment used to perform colonoscopies in its Miami facility between 2004 and 2009. It has notified more than 3000 patients of the potential for infection and recommended testing, one of whom is our client. To her great disappointment, she tested positive for Hepatitis C.
Although the VA admits to the contamination problem, it does not so readily admit to it being the cause of infection in every veteran who has been tested positive for the virus (or HIV; there have been reported cases of HIV infection). Because Hepatitis C, among serious and sometimes fatal medical conditions, is relatively easy to contract, the refusal of the VA to take responsibility for every case of infection is understandable. (However, shouldn’t there be a rebutable presumption in favor of the veterans that the virus was caused by the VA?)
We expect the government to conduct comprehensive discovery in our case in an effort to establish other risk factors, such as intravenous drug use, blood transfusions, promiscuous sex, etc. From past experience, we know that the government’s lawyers and even the FBI will attempt to look into every relevant aspect of our client’s history for evidence to blame for the infecton other than its contaminated equipment.
We say, bring it on. Our client, who served in the army from 1973 to 1980, then worked for the United States Postal Service until the mid-1990s, is a widow who remains extremely close to her only child and other family members. She does not fear the government’s efforts to pry into personal aspects of her life.
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Jeffrey P. Gale, P.A. is a South Florida based law firm committed to the judicial system and to representing and obtaining justice for individuals – the poor, the injured, the forgotten, the voiceless, the defenseless and the damned, and to protecting the rights of such people from corporate and government oppression. We do not represent government, corporations or large business interests.