A federal judge awarded $1.25 million today to a veteran who contracted hepatitis C from contaminated equipment while undergoing a colonoscopy at the Miami Veterans Affairs hospital.
Judge Adalberto Jordan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled Oct. 15 that the VA was liable in the case brought by Air Force veteran Robert Metzler and his wife. The couple sought $30 million in damages.
Metzler contracted hepatitis C in 2007. Cases have been brought against the Department of Veterans Affairs nationally because of unsanitized equipment used in Miami and at other VA hospitals.
“We hope that this final judgment against the VA for failing to properly disinfect and clean its scopes before invasive procedures will make a difference and improve the quality of health care that our service men and women get at VA and military hospitals throughout our country,” said Metzler’s attorney, Ervin Gonzalez of Colson Hicks Eidson in Coral Gables. “Our veterans and military personnel deserve the best care — not life-threatening care.”