August 28, 2015
By Lorra B.
According to recently released footage from a former VA employee, veterans were left in a Memphis VA hospital unattended for hours.
The footage shows that hospital staff attended meetings and left patients alone in the spinal injury ward which is against hospital policy. Hospital policy is clear and states that in case of an emergency a nurse should always be present at the nurse’s station.
That, however, did not happen at this Memphis VA hospital. Shot by an unidentified patient, the video shows empty halls. The patient videographer is heard stating, “If there is an emergency, we’re screwed.”
What would have happened in an emergency can only be speculated but to leave patients unattended is not only careless, it’s criminal.
This VA hospital is known for having not only some of the poorest care among the VA hospitals but also the longest wait times, according to CDN.
There is a second video that shows a patient in the isolation ward and being fed without the employee wearing suitable attire or gloves. If that isn’t bad enough, and with great disgust, she eats a helping of his food and then continues to feed him as if nothing was out of the ordinary.
This video shows veterans left for hours and staff helping themselves to patients food:
According to Rare, it was Sean Higgins that brought this issue to the medias attention and indicated that he is a repeat whistleblower, “including reporting to the Joint Commission that dialysis machines were not being cleaned properly, and believes that he was fired in retaliation.”
Memphis VA has awarded well over a million dollars in bonuses even though they had been cited for long wait times and closed needed equipment down because they claimed they did not have the funds to fix them. Does this seem right?
Unbelievably, instead of getting right on the problems of the VA hospital itself, and according to Higgins, when this issue came to light a VA hospital official reprimanded him at his bedside for filming the incident, which is against hospital policy.
Higgins said, “She was more concerned that the guy violated hospital policy, than what he was filming.”
Veteran Affairs gave a statement on the issue:
Caring for our Veterans is our highest priority. Often times when staff are working at the bedside with patients, it might appear that no one is at the nurses’ station. We have technology in all patient wards in the spinal cord injury unit, which includes the assistive call button at the bedside for patient use to alert staff if the need for assistance arises. Activating the call button triggers a sound alert throughout the spinal cord unit and a light over the patient’s doorway. Nursing staff in rooms caring for patients are nearby and are able to respond to calls for assistance. At no time should our Veterans be left unattended or without access to trained medical staff.
The VA knows the scrutiny they are under yet somehow still seems to find ways to miss the mark of excellence. My questions remains, when will the VA get it right? No, caring for the ill is no cake walk but making sure that the staff has the true interest of the patient at heart should be of the utmost of importance. Not wearing appropriate gear, eating the patients food and leaving them unattended is clearly not a mark of excellence.
By Lorra B.