Michigan VA Hospital Cancels Vets’ Surgeries Due to Contaminated Surgical Equipment

Legal Help for Veterans is a law firm helping veterans get the benefits they deserve.

Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) December 17, 2015 – Veterans had their surgeries cancelled or rescheduled after surgical equipment cases at the Ann Arbor VA Healthcare System in Michigan were found to be contaminated.

Healthcare System nurses discovered specks of “inorganic particulate matter” on cases that store sterile surgical equipment during a routine check in early November. Experts inspected the facility and determined that a water main break was responsible for the sediment on some of the cases. Since Nov. 23, the hospital has replaced some equipment, installed more filters in the water system and flushed the water lines.

According to Healthcare System spokesman Derek Atkinson, the particles did not touch the equipment. He also stressed that veterans were not in danger at any time and that administrators are working to ensure a similar situation does not occur again. “We still have some things that we have to look at. Patient safety is our top priority,” Atkinson said.

“Health care professionals are obligated to make sure veterans receive the proper care they need and that they are worry-free when they visit VA-run hospitals,” said Jim Fausone, a Michigan-based veterans attorney. “The hospital needs to rectify the problem permanently so that veterans have confidence in the facilities they turn to in their time of need.”

Michigan U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell sent a public letter to Healthcare System in which she inquired about the steps the hospital is taking to ensure patient safety. She also discussed looking into the hospital’s pipes and onsite construction to determine the source of the particles.

Healthcare System underwent a surgery stand-down period starting the week of Veterans Day. Veterans were offered the option of undergoing surgery at the nearby University of Michigan Health System or rescheduling their procedures. Emergency cases were sent to the University of Michigan. The hospital has now resumed surgeries on a limited basis.

Healthcare System was investigated in 2014 following allegations of improper sterilization of surgical equipment. A whistleblower said it had “untrained employees . . . improperly handling surgical instruments and supplies” and “unsafe and unsanitary work practices.” However, the Department of Veterans Affairs inspector general later confirmed that the facility had taken action to solve the problem.

Learn more at http://www.legalhelpforveterans.com

Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC
41700 West Six Mile Road, Suite 101
Northville, MI 48168
Toll Free Phone: 800.693.4800

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