Recently, President Donald Trump had kind words to say to VA Secretary David Shulkin regarding the work he is doing at the VA.
Trump said: “Good morning. I’d like to begin by thanking Secretary David Shulkin for the incredible progress that he’s making at the VA — tremendous strides. Thank you very much, David. We appreciate it. The veterans appreciate it, I can tell you that.”
While it appears that Shulkin has made improvements within the VA that his predecessors were unable to achieve, if recent events in Memphis, Tennessee are any indication, then Shulkin has much more that needs to be done in order to make the VA what it should be for veterans.
In 2016, a veteran with diabetes and poor circulation went to the Memphis VA Medical Center for a scan and possible repair of blood vessels in his right leg.
What seemed to be a successful surgery turned out to be a nightmare for the veteran involved.
Three weeks after his surgery, the veteran returned to the hospital in need of a leg amputation due to complications.
During the amputation, doctors discovered that the VA had allegedly embedded 10 inches of plastic packaging, used by manufacturers to protect catheters during shipping and handling, in the veteran’s critical artery.
Seven inches of the plastic packaging was found in his amputated leg, while a three inch segment was initially found when the veteran’s leg was cut during surgery.
The VA hospital in Memphis has a long history of allegations of medical malpractice.
In 2012, three patients died in the emergency room. According to the VA’s Inspector General, one patient was given a medication despite an allergy to the drug that was noted by the hospital. The veteran had a fatal reaction as a result.
Another patient died after being given multiple medications without proper monitoring with a third patient dying after not receiving proper treatment for very high blood pressure.
More recently in 2016, the following has been alleged to have occurred at the Memphis Medical Center:
“The medical center mishandled a tissue sample resulting in a repeat biopsy, a provider perforated a patient’s colon during a colonoscopy, and a patient with abdominal pain and blood in his urine waited two hours in the emergency room before leaving for another local hospital where the patient “was deemed urgent and seen immediately.”
It would appear that nothing has significantly changed since 2012 for this medical center which was given one out of five stars in the agency’s quality-of-care rankings.
Other documents on file show reports of threats to patient safety increased to more than 1,000 in 2016 which is an increase from 700 the year before.
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