Schumer Pushes VA to Ensure Family Members & Caregivers Get Swift Answers to Health Concerns & Related Testing
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer urged the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide swift health testing for family members and caregivers of the 716 patients at the Buffalo VA Medical Center who also could have been exposed to fatal viruses and infections due to the improper reuse of insulin pens, and the failure to swiftly notify patients and others of the mistake.
Schumer’s request comes at the heels of his call for the VA’s Inspector General to investigate the use of these insulin pens, which are intended for individual patient use, but were reportedly used on multiple patients, and could have spread HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C to the patients between October of 2010 until November of 2012. Schumer also highlighted that the window of time for exposure was actually longer for family members and caregivers, because even though the VA suspended the use of the pens in November of 2012, the failure to notify the families for over two months extended their potential exposure period. Schumer has heard directly from affected family members about their health concerns.
“The VA must waste no time in testing the family members and caregivers of the 716 patients in Buffalo who were victims of the negligent and improper use of insulin pens,” said Schumer. “These veterans and their family members who may have been exposed to life-threatening illnesses need testing performed immediately, and every day that goes by is another day the families’ legitimate concerns go unanswered. As the VA works to right the improper procedures used for two years at the Buffalo facility, they must not leave the family members and those in close contact with patients to worry about their health.”