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VA Halts Surgeries At St. Louis Hospital

ST. LOUIS (AP) - The VA Medical Center in St. Louis has halted surgeries after a regular inspection showed possible contamination of equipment.

The hospital's medical director, RimaAnn O. Nelson, said spots were noticed on surgical trays and water stains on at least one surgical instrument before any surgeries were performed Wednesday. She said hospital officials have since inspected all other surgical materials and had vendors at the center Thursday inspecting and testing all surgery-related equipment.

Nelson did not say how many patients might be affected or when surgeries might resume.

The episode is the latest case of sterilization problems at the John Cochran VA Medical Center. The U.S. House Committee on Veterans Affairs held hearings on the situation at the St. Louis center in July.