Report: VA hospitals fail to be "accountable" for poor care

It’s not an understatement to say that Chicago residents trust health care professionals with their lives. It’s horrifying to think that medical malpractice could make your condition worse or kill you while under a hospital’s care, but it happens. According to a federal review, military veterans’ hospital may be among the worst offenders.

Veterans Administration hospitals are expected to diagnose and treat health problems for veteran military service members with the same quality care as non-government hospitals. According to a new report, the care in some VA hospitals is lax and deadly.

Three preventable deaths at one VA hospital were reported in 2012. Eighteen patients at VA hospitals nationwide died from hospital negligence during the last two years. Federal government officials, lawmakers and victims have argued government military hospitals have a “widespread” lack of “accountability.”

Medication errors accounted for all three veterans’ deaths at a Memphis facility.

A nurse administered a large dose of painkillers to a patient suffering back pain and left the veteran alone. The patient’s monitor was disconnected from a central system and wasn’t loud enough to alert the staff. The patient was resuscitated, but lapsed into a coma and died within two weeks.

Another patient with an aspirin allergy was admitted to the same hospital for a “non-urgent” condition. The allergy was noted on the patient’s electronic record. A doctor then issued a prescription without entering it into the digital record, where the contraindicating drug would have been red-flagged. The drug caused a cardiac arrest that led to the patient’s death eight days later.

A third death occurred when a patient’s breathing and eye problems went untreated. The government overseer’s report said proper medication could have saved the veteran’s life. In at least one case, a liability lawsuit is under consideration. Hospitals that don’t act to prevent patient injuries and deaths may be held financially accountable by victims and surviving family members.

Source:, “IG Report Criticizes VA for Preventable Deaths of Veterans” Lachlan Markay, Oct. 29, 2013

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Report: VA hospitals fail to be "accountable" for poor care