- Associated Press - Saturday, October 1, 2016

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) - The Fayetteville VA failed to perform adequate evaluations of patients prior to surgeries, didn’t review deaths within 30 days of operations and had to delay or cancel procedures due to a lack of medical instruments, investigators said.

The Fayetteville Observer reports (https://bit.ly/2dzCLx8) the surgical concerns at the Fayetteville Veterans Affairs Medical Center were outlined in a health care inspection released Friday by the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General.

Those allegations included unfair and unsafe practices within the Fayetteville VA’s Department of Surgery. They were outlined in the letter signed by “concerned surgical staff” and mailed in the fall of 2014. The letter said practices within the VA were “discriminatory and have placed our veterans at risk for delayed care and increased surgical complications.”

According to the report, the inspection and review of the Fayetteville VA was conducted between late 2014 and early 2015. It was the result of anonymous allegations sent to the VA, The Fayetteville Observer and then-North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan.

However, the VA OIG report could only substantiate some of the allegations.

Among the findings, the OIG report found that medicine and anesthesia providers did not perform adequate preoperative evaluations on some patients, leading to surgical delays and cancellations. The investigation also found that, prior to September 2014, the hospital did not review, as required, patient deaths occurring within 30 days of surgery.

Also, the report said a gynecological procedure had to be stopped mid-surgery because of a lack of instruments.

Investigators did not substantiate claims that a surgical technician placed in charge of operating room scheduling bypassed nursing and anesthesia services, that surgical complication rates exceeded 30 percent and that the chief of surgery improperly awarded a contract for new lights and monitors.

Sen. Thom Tillis said changes in senior staff at the Fayetteville VA have led to an improvement in some patient services, but said the report was still disturbing.

“Taking care of those who bore the battle is the most solemn duty of the United States government and it is troubling that any hospital has to be reminded to have adequate pre-operative evaluations and sufficient equipment on hand to perform surgeries,” Tillis said. “It should not take an outside agency to remind any caregiver of those basic medical practices.”

Sen. Richard Burr said the report confirms “the sad news that many of our veterans are still receiving inadequate care at VA facilities.”


Information from: The Fayetteville Observer, https://www.fayobserver.com



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