The Administrative Investigation Board of the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System reported that the staff of a VA Hospital from Seminole, Florida, failed to follow proper post-mortem procedures following the death of a veteran in early February.
The Seminole VA Hospital Staff is accused of abandoning the corpse of an unknown veteran in the hospital’s shower area. Allegedly, after the staff members let the corpse stay in the shower area for more than nine hours before taking it to the morgue.
Although the incident has occurred in early February, the investigation started by the Department of Veterans’ Affair was concluded at the end of November. According to the report forwarded by the Administrative Investigation Board, several staff members working at the VA hospital failed to observe proper post-mortem procedures.
The same report states that after the inquiry was concluded the culprits were punished according to the procedure. However, even though the even clearly violates medical ethics, no one was fired. Instead, the report said that the culprits were retrained in proper post-mortem procedures and there a few ‘changes in procedures’.
The incident, which was investigated and covered by many prestigious North American publication such as Fox 13 News and The Times, has attracted the attention of many US officials, including Florida Representative Gus Bilirakis.
The Republican representative declared in the press comment that the case involving the veteran abandoned in the shower area by VA hospital staff clearly indicates that the VA Department is in dire need of greater liability.
Apart from the report forwarded to the hospital’s Administrative Investigation Board, the VA Department offered some details regarding the case of the abandoned veteran.
According to the department’s official spokespersons, the veteran died in early February sometimes during the day. One member of the staff suggested to another person that the body should be moved to the morgue in accordance with proper post-mortem procedures.
The person, whose name was no disclosed, declared that he could not do that because proper procedure dictates that he must contact the dispatchers before taking the veteran’s body to the morgue.
Now, according to the department’s account of events, the hospital’s dispatchers were not contacted that day. Still, the VA hospital staff moved the veteran’s body to the hallway, and later, to the hospital’s showering area where it remained for nine hours before being discovered.
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