Updated 01/20/2013 06:37 PM
Collins Calls for Congressional Hearing on Insulin Pen Misuse
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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- "Everything I’ve known in the past is they were doing such a good job, and like I say it was to me a big surprise and a big disappointment at the same time," said local veteran Frank Ballesteros.
It’s stunning for veterans like Ballesteros to learn that more than 700 patients from the VA Western New York hospital could have been infected with hepatitis and HIV.
A week ago, the Department of Veterans Affairs released a memo saying some insulin pens at the location were misused.
This weekend, the FDA said they sent out an advisory in 2009 that pens should not be re-used. However in a statement, a spokesperson for VA says quote.
"We do not have a record of receiving the FDA alert or clinical reminder. We are continuing our investigation as to why the prescribed protocol was not followed. Once this was discovered, immediate actions were taken to correct the procedure for the insulin pens.”
The spokesperson says the pens are no longer used for inpatients. One veteran doesn’t buy it.
"When they said that they didn’t get no notification on it for two years, I don’t believe that," said veteran Anthony Peters.
Veterans like Peters say the VA provides crucial services for many who served our country.
"Most of the people that go to VA can’t afford to go anywhere else and if you are stuck in that position you are hoping that you'll be getting good service," said Peters.
“Some people don’t have health care insurance,” said veteran Dan Pokigo. “That’s why it's very great that they have a hospital for these veterans to go to, otherwise they wouldn’t be able to get no care at all.”
Meanwhile Congressman Chris Collins is now calling for congressional hearings into the matter. Veterans say they support the idea.
"I believe it probably is a good idea, find out what happened, why it happened and if there was anyone responsible for the way it happened," said Ballesteros.
Collins says he wants more oversight of the agency.
He says the hearings could happen over the next couple months.