The Department of Veterans Affairs has fired the longtime director of a veteran’s hospital in Washington D.C., according to a report released Tuesday.
Conditions at a Veterans Affairs medical center were so bad, an Inspector General’s report in April described it as “dangerous to patients.”
However, after the report, the hospital’s director, Brian Hawkins, was simply “demoted” and reassigned to a new position at the VA headquarters, much to the dismay of congressional leaders and military veterans.
The inspection at the facility, which serves about 98,000 patients a year, had discovered a multitude of problems, including dirty storage areas where sterile supplies were supposed to be kept, expired supplies being used, and borrowing equipment from elsewhere because supplies were not properly stocked.
The same facility had been reported for a cockroach infestation and unsanitary conditions in the food service areas in 2015, NBC4 reported.
Problems have continued at the facility. An investigation revealed that a patient’s body went undiscovered in a parking lot for nearly two days; and, earlier this summer, an operating room was closed for hours after the air conditioning system went out.
The Department of Veterans Affairs released a report Tuesday, August 1, stating they fired Hawkins after he “failed to provide effective leadership at the medical center.”
In addition, the Inspector General said Hawkins forwarded sensitive agency information to his spouse’s email, and to his personal email, on a private, unsecured email address.
The following news broadcast from April 2017 provides details of the Inspector General’s alarming report. Additional findings included:
- 194 patient safety reports had been filed since January 2014, reporting a lack of available equipment.
- In March, the facility had to borrow bloodlines from a private hospital for dialysis patients because they ran out of the equipment.
- In April, the hospital did not have the appropriate tool needed for prostrate biopsies and had to cancel scheduled biopsies for four patients.
- The hospital had to borrow bone material for knee replacement surgeries from another facility.
- In February 2016, a vendor removed a tray used to repair jaw fractures, due to an unpaid invoice.
- In June 2016, a surgeon used expired equipment during a procedure.
- Out of 25 sterile storage areas inspected, 18 were found dirty.
A report issued in July revealed that the Trump administration is cleaning out the Department of Veterans Affairs, having fired over 500 employees since President Trump took office in January.
Most recently, a horrendous cockroach problem was reported at a VA facility in Phoenix, Arizona.
In April, President Trump signed the Executive Order on Improving Accountability and Whistleblower Protection at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
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