According to the Department of Veterans Affairs Administrative Investigation Board, several Florida VA hospital staff members are accused of post-mortem negligence. According to the Board, the hospital personnel left a veteran’s lifeless body unattended for roughly nine hours in the shower area. However, more serious is the fact that the hospital staff members tried to cover up their actions afterward.
A Tampa Bay Times report issued on Friday, December 9th, 2016, says that the incident took place earlier this year, in February, in the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System’s hospice unit. A 24-page report obtained by Tampa Bay Times via a Freedom of Information Act request filed earlier this year contains information gathered from 30 witnesses’ accounts.
Tampa Bay Times Report Highlights
The paper has been redacted in order to protect the deceased veteran’s identity, as well as those of the staff members in question.
As the report states, the hospice personnel left the veteran’s lifeless body in the unit’s hallway for an undetermined amount of time. Next, the staff members placed the deceased’s body in the shower room where they left it for over nine hours, without checking on its condition. When confronted, the staff members responsible for the incident acknowledged the body’s increased risk of decomposition while left unattended in the shower room.
The report concludes by stating that the hospital personnel stands accused of post-mortem negligence.
Hospital Officials’ Statements
Jason Dangel, the hospital spokesman stated that the health facility denied covering up the incident. He then adds that, if something, upper management took action to investigate the event, once it was made public.
Mr. Dangel also speaks about action taken against the staff members involved in the matter. However, he does not say that any of the culprits has been fired as a direct result. Instead, the hospital has ordered a change in procedures and retraining, according to the spokesman’s statement.
In response to the report, representing the 12th district of Florida, Congressman Gus Bilirakis is calling for a greater accountability in his statement. He expresses his distress caused by the Bay Pines VA hospital incident and declares himself disturbed by the facility’s intention to cover everything up once it transpired.
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