No firings, resignations at Memphis VA hospital

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - No officials have been fired or quit at the Memphis Veterans Affairs Medical Center since VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned Friday over allegations of treatment delays and other problems at veterans hospitals around the country, including in Memphis, officials said.

Shinseki turned in his resignation to President Barack Obama. His departure did not lead to other resignations or firings at the Memphis VA, the hospital said in a statement.

The U.S. House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs began an investigation into the Memphis center in November, based on a VA inspector general’s report that said three patients died in the hospital’s emergency room.

One patient was given a medication despite a documented drug allergy and had a fatal reaction. Another was found unresponsive after receiving multiple sedating medications. A third had critically high blood pressure that was not aggressively monitored and experienced bleeding in the brain about five hours after going to the emergency room.

The hospital says it addressed the problems. For example, the physician involved in the care of two of the patients in the report is no longer working there. The hospital also established a tracking system to make sure treatment plans are timely and complete.

“Veterans deserve to have full faith in their VA care,” a statement released by the hospital said. “Where we have failed to meet those commitments we will redouble our efforts to deliver timely care to patients with compassion and integrity.”

At a campaign appearance Friday, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander said he respected Shinseki’s decision to hold himself accountable.

“But that doesn’t get to the bottom of what happened. We need to know the facts,” said Alexander, R-Tenn.

Alexander said his staff and the staff of fellow Republican Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker have been visiting VA facilities in the state.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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