Madison County

VA apologizes to patients exposed to diseases, infection

The Lexington VA Medical Center issued a statement Saturday apologizing after six patients underwent cataract surgery with a surgical tool that was not properly sterilized.

Jo Ann Baldwin, 58, of Richmond, said hospital officials told her the tool might have been contaminated with HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C. Baldwin's husband, Vietnam War veteran Daryl Baldwin, 58, underwent surgery for cataracts in March and was one of the patients potentially affected.

Daryl Baldwin has tested negative for the diseases, she said, but the couple said they were concerned that hospital officials waited nine months to warn them about the potential contamination.

"Even though the risk of infection was low from the cataract surgeries in March, the clinical disclosure of adverse events is considered a standard part of clinical care. In this situation, VA discovered that these disclosures did not occur when they should have," the hospital's statement said.

The statement, signed by Acting Medical Center Director Donna K. Jacobs, apologized for the delay.