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Report identifies Connecticut VA hospital cleanliness problems

Some of the most serious accusations against Veterans Administration hospitals across the nation - such as secret waiting lists and alleged extraordinary waiting times for appointments - have not been linked to VA facilities in Connecticut. However, recent findings from a report by the VA's Inspector General indicate that Connecticut's VA facilities may in fact have troubles of their own.

The report focuses on problems that were identified mostly in operating room conditions and personnel procedures that may have direct implications for patient safety, and which may leave the hospital vulnerable to accusations of medical malpractice. Some of the deficiencies include:

  • Improper operating room cleaning procedures
  • Lack of enough environmental waste personnel in the operating room, and inadequate compliance with procedures with for maintaining clean conditions
  • Intermingling surgery schedules for patients suffering from infectious diseases with patients who were not subject to those diseases
  • The presence of insects in the operating room, which may be connected with hospital staff eating food there

What is more concerning is that some of the problems that the IG reported have evidently been longstanding ones; the insect presence in the OR, for example, has been known of for about eight years.

The Connecticut VA has stated, in response to the report, that the IG did not find any specific negative patient outcomes attributable to the shortcomings that the report disclosed.

One need not be a health care professional or an attorney to appreciate the potential for patient harm in an unclean and understaffed hospital environment. For example, what if a patient contracts an illness or infection in the hospital that is traceable to poor cleanliness or a failure to comply with established standard operating procedures? This might be medical malpractice.

In the situation of the Connecticut VA, although the VA maintains that no patients have so far suffered from medical malpractice or hospital neglect as a result of the hospital's deficiencies, it remains to be seen whether that will always be the case.

Source:, "Insects reported in Connecticut VA hospital operating room for 8 years," Susan Berry, June 11, 2014

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