#VAFail – Cincinnati VA Overrun with Dirty Surgical Tools
Back in February we brought you WCPO’s story detailing rampant misconduct at the VA Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. Now we have more confirmation coming out of Cincinnati that the VA’s operating rooms there are a cesspool of dirty and broken equipment, contaminants and lies.
Among other things, the facility’s acting chief of staff was prescribing controlled substances without the appropriate license to her boss’ wife. She did this while being paid for both her position as an administrator, as well as a cardiothoracic surgeon, despite whistleblower complaints that she rarely, if ever, performed in her role as a physician. There were reports of contaminated surgical equipment, but new documents and testimony show that the problems were worse than anyone knew.
The devastating account is detailed clearly in a follow-up report from WPCO. Along with Scripps News’ Washington bureau, WCPO obtained documents describing “bone-contaminated drill bits, broken or rusty surgical instruments, holes in sterile wrappers, and a needle holder that arrived with a used needle still in it.”
Don’t worry, the VA takes these incidents very seriously, as evidenced by the fact that they are referred to as “quality events” or “non-conforming products.” It makes a person wonder if the VA may be taking these events a little too lightly. According to this report and internal documents, one in every six surgeries was documented as having one of these issues as recently as fiscal year 2015.
Whistleblowers are justifiably angry, as the facility and its administrators are claiming no one was using contaminated surgical tools. The VA’s inspector general should soon be coming out with a report as to whether the administrators’ denials are true. One doctor who spent time in Cincinnati said he filed at least 10 incident reports detailing contamination and “never heard back about a single one.”
Not only have these events been ignored and denied, February’s report stated that the facility’s leadership “told operating-room staff they were being ‘too picky’ when they reported surgical instruments delivered to operating rooms with blood and bone chips from previous surgeries.”
How can medical professionals be too picky when caring for our veterans?