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Academy medical clinic patients notified of potential health risks associated with recent procedure

U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. --

The Air Force Academy’s Medical Clinic and the Veterans Administration Eastern Colorado Health Care System are notifying 267 gastrointestinal endoscopy patients about potential health risks associated with procedures at the Academy’s GI Clinic between June and September.

The precautionary notification to service members, retirees, veterans and family members follows discovery of a diversion from standard pre-cleaning protocols for a scope used in endoscopy procedures.

The Academy clinic and ECHCS immediately investigated the situation. The high-level disinfection was completed on all scopes, but a step in the pre-cleaning process may have been omitted. However, all 19 of 19 scopes were thoroughly checked and found to be free of any infectious material. Subsequently, Air Force Medical Service and VA infectious diseases experts determined the risk is very low, but not zero.


“While the risk to the potentially impacted patients is very low, it cannot be discounted entirely,” said Col. Walter Matthews, the Air Force Academy's command surgeon. “Maintaining patient safety and quality is our top priority. We take any potential risk to patient safety very seriously and are committed to informing those under our care of any increased risk.”

Every patient who had a GI endoscopy at the clinic during the period indicated will be contacted by either an Air Force or VA provider and informed of potential risks as well as offered testing. Of the 267 patients potentially impacted, 206 were under the care of the Academy's Medical Clinic. The remaining 61 patients are affiliated with the VA.

The clinic has placed all GI endoscopy procedures on hold pending complete resolution of this issue. In addition, the VA and Academy medical clinic are coordinating with the endoscope manufacturer to provide retraining and re-certification on the cleaning of scopes. All other procedures performed at this clinic are unaffected.


Patients with questions or concerns are asked to contact the GI Clinic, 719-333-5140/5138, between 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.


The VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System and the Academy medical clinic have partnered since 2011 to provide outpatient surgical services at the clinic on the Academy to veteran patients in Colorado Springs. 


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