Here at RedState, we often report on the atrocious conditions at veterans’ hospitals and medical centers nationwide. There has been mistreatment, dismissal, wait-listing, and even downright cruelty. That our military men and women, who have sacrificed years of their lives in service to the nation, have endured any of this is inexcusable.
Unfortunately, there always seems to be more right around the corner.
Details from an inspector general investigation came out on Wednesday revealing appalling conditions at the VA Medical Center in Washington, D.C. during the Obama administration.
Worst of all? Officials knew about it and did nothing.
USA Today reports, emphasis mine.
…officials at nearly every level knew for years about sterilization lapses and equipment shortfalls at the Washington, D.C., VA Medical Center, but they were either unwilling or unable to fix the problems…
In the Washington D.C., probe, the inspector general found once again that multiple local, regional and national officials had been informed of the problems but did not fix them. Investigators concluded “a culture of complacency and a sense of futility pervaded offices at multiple levels.”
Apparently, investigators began their work after receiving a tip from an anonymous source in early 2017. Here is some of what they found.
Clinicians put patients under anesthesia before realizing they didn’t have equipment to perform scheduled procedures
A review of 124 veteran patient records found problems with supplies or instruments in 74 of the cases between 2014 and 2017.
A surgeon had to improvise when a tool used to prepare a skin graft was broken and the graft failed. A surgical staff member had to run to a private-sector hospital to borrow mesh to repair a hernia midprocedure.
The hospital had more than 375 patient safety incidents because of supply problems between 2014 and 2016 but nearly half of them weren’t entered into a national VA database that tracks such incidents.
Supply and records failures were seemingly common.
They found more than 500,000 items which had been sitting for years in an off-site warehouse, including $80,000 worth of refrigerators, $25,000 worth of blood pressure cuffs, and 185 beds the hospital had acquired but found unusable.
Investigators seized more than 1,300 boxes of unsecured records from two warehouses, the hospital basement and a large trash dumpster in April 2017. Of those, 81% contained confidential patient information, including medical scans and records dating to the 1970s.
Decades of mismanagement and disorganization lead to shoddy, unsanitary care even when patients were on the operating table. And remember, this is all at taxpayer expense. Our nation’s veterans should be receiving quality care. These failures are egregious.
As we’re well aware, the D.C. atrocities are nowhere near the only failures within the VA medical system. Major problems have been reported elsewhere involving secret wait lists (during which some patients would die), high numbers of opiate prescriptions, and even leaving bodies to rot. One dentist in Wisconsin reused equipment and possibly infected hundreds with Hepatitis or HIV.
This laziness, disregard, and criminality (that dentist was only moved to a desk job) is unquestionably indefensible.
I guarantee that we don’t know half of what has occurred or continues to within this broken network.
In April of 2017, President Trump signed a bill extending a program which allows veterans to seek care in the private medical sector. The program was to expire in August 2017 but will now continue until funds run out.
Clearly, there needs to be a shake-up in a system that has allowed for so many failures under the eyes of higher-ups who saw, but did nothing.
The best of us, those who have served our country and defended our freedoms, deserve so much better.