Posts Tagged ‘hepititis’
A top Veterans Administration administrator has promised to provide case managers to each of the 1,812 Missouri and Illinois veterans exposed to infection through improperly sterilized equipment at John Cochran VA Medical Center in St. Louis.
Dr. Robert Petzel, VA undersecretary for health, made the promise during a special hearing before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs…acknowledging that some vets in the group of 1,812 do show signs of hepatitis, but it is unclear whether the infections were picked up at the dental clinic or elsewhere.
Petzel’s tone was apologetic as he faced a barrage of harsh criticism from committee members as well as tough questions from U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Belleville, and U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville.
Both metro-east congressmen said they were frustrated with the slow way the VA responds to problems and punishes whistleblowers who brings these problems to the attention of VA administrators.
Costello recalled how in 2008 no administrators were fired at the Marion VA Hospital, despite evidence that showed nine veterans there died because of substandard care.
“No one is really held accountable,” Costello said. “Except, Mr. Costello, a whistleblower,” said U.S. Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., the panel chairman.
Filner was alluding to the case of Earlene Johnson, a medical supply technician at the Cochran hospital. For months in 2009, Johnson tried to warn her supervisors of the problems with the sterilization of dental equipment at the hospital, but to no avail.
Johnson was fired in November.
I’ve worked with truly responsible and professional VA hospitals. My closest friend spent years in and out of VA hospitals in southern New England dealing with battlefield injuries from WW2 – and generally had top notch attention. The exception being short spells of beancounteritis during the first years of any Republicans landing in the White House.
One of my favorite kin was a VA physician for pretty much all his career and felt it was the best way to serve his country and his fellow veterans.
There needs to be sound inspection on a par with the JCAH accreditation surveys – when it comes to bureaucrats. And – as ever – protection within our government for whistleblowers instead of retaliation.