As VA medical centers across the country come under fire for poor medical care, medical malpractice, and doctor mistakes, a VA medical center in Grand Junction has suspended its entire endoscopic program after a bowel perforation medical mistake during a routine colonoscopy.
According to local news sources, a veteran was at the VA medical center last week for a colonoscopy – a procedure in which a long, flexible probe is inserted into the large intestine to screen for medical problems such as rectal cancer and colon cancer. During the medical procedure, the probe punctured the patient’s bowel – a medical error that can lead to serious complications including infection and sepsis.
A spokesperson for the VA medical center said that they usually perform twenty to thirty colonoscopies per week and that bowel perforations and other complications are extremely rare. The spokesperson went on to say that they closed the program out of concern for their patients and to examine all aspects of the procedure as it stands. They will both look for problems and for improvements to the process.
At this time, they are unsure of how long the investigation will take or when the endoscopic program will reopen – both timetables depend on the findings of the investigation and whether changes need to be implemented.
Until the program reopens, veterans will be sent to a nearby VA hospital or civilian hospital for their endoscopic needs. Their expenses will be reimbursed.
Regular colonoscopies in high-risk patients can reduce fatal colon cancers by over 50 percent.