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June 30th, 2010
09:12 AM ET

Tips for surviving a hospital stay

A Missouri VA hospital is under fire because it may have exposed more than 1,800 veterans to dangerous viruses like hepatitis and HIV.

John Cochran VA Medical Center in St. Louis has recently mailed letters to 1,812 veterans telling them they could contract hepatitis B, hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) after visiting the medical center for dental work. So far, there have been no reports of illness.

As many as 98,000 people die in U.S. hospitals each year as a result of medical errors, according to an Institute of Medicine report. Some 99,000 people die each year from infections acquired in the hospital, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

So what can you do to protect yourself in the hospital? Click here for some Empowered Patient tips.


Filed under: Tony Harris
June 30th, 2010
08:27 AM ET

Mental health impact of BP oil spill

Louisiana's Department of Health and Hospitals wants BP to pay 10 million dollars for mental health services for people on the Gulf coast impacted by the oil spill.

"There exists anger, anxiety and uncertainty among the families and communities affected by the spill, which will easily manifest into addiction and various forms of mental health crisis if not confronted," said Alan Levine, head of the department in a letter to BP's Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles.

This comes nearly one week after an Alabama fisherman hired by BP to help clean Gulf waterways committed suicide on board one of his own boats. BP says it is reviewing the request to offer mental health services.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention one person dies by suicide about every 15 minutes in the United States. Click here for tips on How to Save a Friend from the Brink.


Filed under: Elizabeth Cohen
June 30th, 2010
07:26 AM ET

Veterans Exposed to HIV & Hepatitis

Being back on US soil doesn't mean these Missouri veterans are safe.

John Cochran VA Medical Center in St. Louis recently notified over 1,800 veterans that they may have been exposed to hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV after visiting the medical center for dental work, said Rep. Russ Carnahan.

The association chief of staff at the hospital, Dr. Gina Michael, says some dental technicians broke protocol by hand washing dental tools before putting them into cleaning machines. The hand washing began back in February 2009 and may have caused the tools to become contaminated.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time that there's been a major medical mistake at a V.A. hospital. There was dirty colonoscopy equipment in Florida, letters sent to veterans saying they had Lou Gehrig’s disease when they didn’t, and radiation errors for colonoscopy patients in Philadelphia.

Are you or one of your loved ones a veteran? We want to hear about your experiences- good or bad- with your local V.A. hospital.

Post your comments here. Kyra will read some of them on the air during the 10am ET hour of the CNN Newsroom.


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