Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) April 23, 2018 - The D.C. Veterans Affairs Medical Center was recently struck with a biting inspector general report of systematic problems including an absence of necessary medical supplies, unsterile surroundings and unsecured patient information. There was no evidence that the issues directly caused a patient’s death.
Inspector General Michael Missal credited the facility’s “committed health care professionals.” He said there was “a climate of complacency that allowed these conditions to exist for years. That there was no finding of patient harm was largely due to the efforts of many dedicated health care providers that overcame service deficiencies to ensure patients received needed care.”
Issues included instances where medical care providers had to rush to another private-sector hospital to borrow supplies after patients had undergone anesthesia. Sometimes surgeons would use instruments they had readily available instead of tools they were familiar with.
“It is unacceptable for a VA medical facility to have such poor conditions that threaten the health and wellbeing of veterans,” commented Jim Fausone, an attorney with the Michigan law office of Legal Help for Veterans. “The VA leadership has promised more accountability, and that needs [to] be reflected in such situations in which the lives of patients are put at risk.”
On top of failure to properly upkeep inventory, sterile processing often went awry which led to medical instruments being unavailable. There was an instance where a necessary instrument had not been sterilized since its last use a week prior, causing a surgery cancellation after the patient had gone under anesthesia.
Investigators also discovered over 1,300 boxes of patient reports in two warehouses, a dumpster and the hospital’s basement. Confidential patient information was found in 81 percent of the reports.
The investigation is only the latest in a long series of disputes with the VA Medical Center. VA Secretary David Shulkin promised system-wide changes in his response to the report.
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