D.C. VA Hospital Poses Dangers to Veterans

VA Hospital

There are numerous below par conditions at a Washington, D.C., VA Medical Center that have prompted a scathing report from the VA’s Inspector General.

These conditions are so dangerous that the agency’s Inspector General issued a very rare preliminary report to alert patients and other members of the public.

Some of the findings by the Inspector General included:

  • The operating room ran out of vascular patches to seal blood vessels and ultrasound probes used to map blood flow
  • A surgeon used expired equipment during a procedure
  • Chemical strips used to verify equipment sterilization had expired a month earlier, so tests performed on nearly 400 items were not reliable
  • Four prostate biopsies had to be canceled because there were no tools to extract the tissue sample
  • The hospital ran out of tubes needed for kidney dialysis, so staff had to go to a private-sector hospital and ask for some.
  • The facility had to borrow bone material for knee replacement surgeries
  • A tray used in repairing jaw fractures was removed from the hospital because of an outstanding invoice to a vendor

The director of the medical center has now temporarily been assigned to administrative duties, and a new acting director has been named.

It was further determined by the Inspector General that this VA hospital, which serves more than 98,000 veterans in the nation’s capital, lacks an effective inventory system.

Additionally, the report cautions that “there are numerous and critical open senior staff positions that will make prompt remediation of these issues very challenging”.

“Although our work is continuing, we believed it appropriate to publish this Interim Summary Report given the exigent nature of the issues we have preliminarily identified and the lack of confidence in VHA adequately and timely fixing the root causes of these issues,” VA Inspector General Michael Missal wrote.

New VA Secretary David Shulkin told the media earlier this week that he welcomes outside oversight with hopes it will help him fix the beleaguered agency.

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