Less than a month after a shocking report from Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Inspector General Michael Missal that detailed “serious and troubling deficiencies that placed patients at unnecessary risks,” the D.C. VA medical center finds itself under additional scrutiny after “further incidents” were uncovered yesterday by the Inspector General.
While visiting the DC medical center on Wednesday, Inspector General Missal found that a patient’s surgery was postponed when he was under anesthesia because the surgeon did not have the necessary equipment.
To make matters worse, Stars and Stripes reports:
“…the inspector general’s Rapid Response Team found discolored surgical instruments that the team determined to be unsuitable to use on patients.”
The troubling findings from the Rapid Response Team prompted Inspector General Missal to issue a letter to VA acting under secretary for health and 15 other lawmakers urging “necessary and appropriate action to ensure that patients at the DC VA [medical center] are not placed at unnecessary risk.”
The letter came on the same day as the medical director of the Washington VA was fired by VA Secretary David Shulkin. Instances of gross negligence and misconduct have been all too common in the VA, and the findings yesterday underscore the urgent need for reform that brings more protection to our veterans.
VA Secretary Shulkin has taken the appropriate action by holding high-level officials accountable. In addition to the firing of the DC medical director, the director of the VA Medical Center in Shreveport, Louisiana was fired was fired recently after a report found multiple instances of misdeeds under his watch.
Lawmakers have complemented these actions with today’s bipartisan introduction of the Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act. This legislation is desperately needed as little to nothing has been done since the Phoenix VA wait list scandal came out over three years ago. CVA is encouraged by the accountability measures from Secretary Shulkin and Congress and urges the Senate to swiftly pass this legislation. Our grassroots campaign will continue the fight for accountability and meaningful reform that our veterans deserve.
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