When one veteran went to the Memphis VA Medical Center to address concerns related to his diabetes and poor blood circulation last year, he didn’t expect to leave the building missing an entire leg, but that’s exactly what happened.
Worse — it happened because of the incompetence of those who were supposed to take care of him.
As USA Today reports, VA clinicians decided to put a catheter into the veteran after he went in for a scan and possible blood vessel repair, and what they did during that surgery has changed his life.
An internal report accessed by USA Today states that the clinicians inserted a catheter into a vital artery, one that supplied blood to the right foot, but had difficulty getting the catheter past a narrow portion of the vessel. They removed the catheter and gave the man medication to try to mitigate what blockages there were.
So far, so good, but the real damage would not be fully realized until some time later, when the veteran’s leg had to be amputated. You see, the medical “professionals” who were working on the veteran forgot to remove the plastic packaging on the catheter before trying to insert it, and the packaging stayed in his leg.
All 10 inches of it.
Of course, this totally blocked blood flow to his right foot, and the entire leg was amputated 22 days after the initial surgery.
It nearly beggars belief, but it’s true. Former logistics technician at the Memphis VA Sean Higgins proclaimed the institution to be a “house of horrors,” according to USA Today, and is considered to be one of the worst VA hospitals in the entire country.
Representative Phil Roe, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, is outraged. His staff have been investigating the hospital since January.
“I’m disappointed and outraged by the many failures at the Memphis VA medical center, particularly the allegations regarding patient safety,” Roe said in a statement according to USA Today. “This is unacceptable, plain and simple.”
It is an outrage that any of our men or women would face such treatment at the hands of VA medical professionals, and we can only hope that the changes that the VA is making — including a quiet replacement of a large number of the top hospital management, according to USA Today — are radical enough to manifest the change this institution so desperately needs.
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