The Office of Special Counsel has called the attention of Congress and the White House to an investigation that confirmed a whistleblower’s disclosures about unsanitary conditions at a VA facility.
The VA conducted the investigation at the West Los Angeles VAMC after a doctor alleged conditions including an infestation of flies that required closing operating rooms and delaying surgeries. It also confirmed disclosures that water leaks had similarly caused delays in surgeries although it added that in both cases it found no evidence that the delays had a negative impact on the patients. The facility has taken remedial steps against both problems, the report said.
The report similarly substantiated allegations that staffing issues had contributed to scheduling changes and that there had been instances of operating rooms being short on certain supplies, but it did not substantiate that staffing issues had affected the facility’s ability to perform emergency surgery and said there have be “very few, if any” instances of supply shortages for several years.
“Thanks to the whistleblower’s important disclosure, the agency has implemented all recommendations and is taking appropriate steps to mitigate unsanitary conditions in the operating rooms,” the OSC said. “While this has been a long process, the investigation resulted in significant improvements to the facility that will better ensure the safety of veterans undergoing surgical procedures.”
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