Miami Herald, July 11, 2011
A Coral Gables veteran who filed a $30 million medical malpractice lawsuit charging that an improper colonoscopy at the Miami Veterans' Administration hospital gave him life-threatening hepatitis C heads to Miami federal court today in the first of what could be dozens of similar trials. More than 11,000 U.S. veterans received colonoscopies with improperly cleaned equipment at VA hospitals in Miami, Murfreesboro, TN and Augusta, GA between 2004 and 2009. Of the veterans who had the procedure at the three facilities, five have tested positive for HIV, 25 for hepatitis C and eight for hepatitis B. In Miami, 11 additional suits charging emotional distress have been settled out of court for undisclosed amounts, the U.S. Attorney's office said. Nine malpractice suits have been filed in Tennessee. Officials in Georgia couldn't say how many have been filed there. None has gone to trial until now. Robert Metzler, now 69, a U.S. Air Force veteran, says he got a colonoscopy at the Miami VA hospital in 2007 and two years later was told he has hepatitis C.