The Real Reason Minneapolis VA Canceled Its Surgeries

25

2013_03_16_3603

Benjamin KrauseYesterday, Star Tribune highlighted more problems at Minneapolis VA – This time the facility canceled scheduled surgeries due to an undisclosed substance being on surgical tools, but an insider tip shows there may be more to the story.

The problem causing the shutdown is the result of a failure to adequately sterilize surgical tools. The agency admits that numerous veterans will not receive surgical services, but those veterans in urgent need for surgery will be referred out. Otherwise, the hospital is using sterilizers at St. Cloud VA and Hennepin County Medical Center.

That is what Minneapolis VA is publicly admitting to. Here is the rest of the story from an insider.

INFO FROM INSIDER TIP

Minneapolis VA has failed to adequately ensure steam access for autoclaves and is trying to build infrastructure. An autoclave is a vital piece of a sterilization system where pressurized steam is used to ensure surgical tools will not give you an infection.

The insider tip indicated the steam system has been in the works – either maintenance or construction – for the past month. During the process, one VA employee was very badly burned in an accident. VA does not have a projection as to when its sterilization system will be fixed.

MINNEAPOLIS VA ANNOUNCEMENT ON SHUTDOWN

If true, this tips shows Minneapolis VA is clearly downplaying the problem that led to the surgical tools having an unidentified substance on them. Here is what VA public relations guru Ralph sent to reporters today about the shutdown:

Minneapolis VA Reschedules Surgeries to Safeguard Patients

An as yet unidentified substance detected in sterilizing equipment at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center has been sent to a laboratory for analysis.  Until the substance is identified and the equipment cleaned, inspected and certified, the Minneapolis VA is taking extra precautions and has rescheduled most surgeries for the remainder of the week.

We are able to perform some cases at the medical center utilizing other sterilizers that were not impacted.

Those urgent or emergent procedures we cannot do will be conducted through our academic partners at the University of Minnesota or in other local hospitals.

Patients are being contacted today.

— Ralph Heussner, Public Affairs Officer, Minneapolis VA Health Care System

Notice the press release makes no mention of the autoclave or the accident that allegedly left on VA employee badly burned.

MINNEAPOLIS VA IS NOT ALONE

The Star Tribune found that Minneapolis VA is not the only facility to have this problem:

A Denver VA hospital was forced to shut down its surgical unit temporarily last year after trace mineral deposits were found on some surgical tools. Surgeries were also rescheduled in 2010 after dirty surgical tools were discovered at John Cochran VA Hospital in St. Louis.

A 2011 Government Accountability Office report revealed systemic deficiencies in sanitation and sterilization procedures at VA medical centers across the country, potentially jeopardizing the health and safety of millions of veterans who rely on the VA for health care. Many medical centers failed to develop training programs to teach staff how to correctly clean, disinfect and sterilize reusable medical equipment, like surgical equipment, the report said. As a result, staff may not be sterilizing reusable equipment correctly, creating a serious medical risk. The Minneapolis VA was not cited as an offending medical center in that report.

I’m hoping Minneapolis VA resolves the issue quickly. But should we be concerned that VA will not contact all veterans needing urgent access to surgical care? Probably.

Source: http://www.startribune.com/minneapolis-va-hospital-shuts-down-surgeries-after-a-substance-is-found-in-sterilization-equipment/328878601/

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
spiritdancer2u2015
BEN, READ MY EMAIL. I AM NOT SURE OF YOUR ADDRESS BUT I WISH TO GIVE YOU SOMETHING. THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER FROM START TO FINISH. AS I WAS TOLD HERE, “THE ARTSY FARTSY TYPE? GUESS YOU MEAN THOSE LIKE RICH WEIRD PEOPLE I DIDN’T RELATE TO?” BUT IN ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, WITH ALL THE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS SPENT DOES THE VA KNOW THEY ACTUALLY MAKE ALREADY STERILIZED KITS AND NO MORE OF THE STUFF DONE BACK IN THE LAST CENTURY?” HEY, AS IF I DID NOT KNOW WHO WAS CALLING ME AND WHAT THEY WERE DOING? CALL ME PBFH TITLE… Read more »
CorpsmanuP! (@Tang1967)

The substance is a hidden waitlist that got tossed into the sterilizers during an inspection!” I seen the whole thing” (Eddie Murphy skit voice)

Doc1964
I have been telling you guys this all along ,weather it’s with unsterile surgical insturments or with unsanitary practises not washing hands sticking a needle in without swabbing site not getting a new bottle of medicine to pull from,this is not by accident ,they just keep doing it until they get caught ,slow enough as not to draw attention & if they do to see what are reaction is going to be.i keep waiting for the one thing that will piss us off so bad that we come together ,but it just keeps nibbling at us picking us off a… Read more »
Vassilis Margaris
Vassilis Margaris

We Need to keep “feeding shit on the Fan” till the SHAMEFUL VA SYSTEM is Fixed 100%
Good Job Ben!
MSG VAM

Don Karg
Don Karg
09/24/2015 Dear Benjamin Krause, In one of my early books, last year [Book two], I ran across a recall years ago issued by the VA Hospital on an OEM [Original Equipment Manufacturer] of Sterilizing Equipment.—-My fear is that the VA Doctors and Nurses and Technicians used the faulty equipment anyway— the manufacturer of the sterilizing equipment was banned in 1998 [17.7 years ago]–AbTox, Inc., of Mundelein, Illinois, issued a voluntary recall on March 31, 1998. These events are called “Ticking Time Bombs.” Mpls. VA shuts down surgeries over unidentified substance … http://www.startribune.com/…va-hospital…sterilization-equipment/... • Star Tribune 6 hours ago – A… Read more »
crazyelf
crazyelf

Let’s keep the heat on VA. “Shame” them into submission. That’s the only thing they understand!

I wonder, why do good people want to continue working at any VA, when they know such things occur? If they report these types of “conditions”, they end up being ostracized by their fellow workers. Even from their friends. Then, they get trampled on by managers and upper management! All this does is make for a hostile work environment. I would/could never stay at a job, that covers up malpractice or any other form of egregious acts against patients….

namnibor
This is *exactly* how I acquired Hep B and yes, even HIV but it was in active duty in the early 80’s from an appendectomy, exploded, needed blood transfusions. Took the Red Cross many months later and after being deathly ill for entire month of granted convalescence medical leave, where I was hospitalized entire time. Even the military those months before I could donate blood again as I have a rare blood type, found *nothing*…the Red Cross sent me a certified/registered letter explaining that my surgical procedure either had unsterile environment and/or tainted/untested blood products, resulting in my condition they… Read more »
spiritdancer2u2015
NAMNIBOR, THAT IS NO WAY TO GO. EVERY MILITARY MEDICAL PERSON KNOWS EVEN BACK THEN WHEN WE USED THE OLD AUTOCLAVE METHOD HOW TO CLEAN, WRAP THE INSTRUMENTS UP, TAPE AND DATE IT, AND IF IT COMES OUT AND IT IS NOT STERILIZED CORRECTLY THEN REPEAT! I LOST MY BROTHER TO AN AIDS RELATED DEATH. I HAD RECENTLY RE-ENLISTED WITH THE RESERVES AND WHEN I GOT THE NEWS, SORRY, FAMILY FIRST! I HAVE LOST WAY TOO MANY I CARED ABOUT AND THERE ARE “NO EXCUSES AT ALL FOR THAT TO HAPPEN!” BACK THEN THE TESTING WAS NOT A 100% GUARANTEE… Read more »
namnibor
Thanks for kind and informed words. I actually filed my very own Social Sec. Disability Income and VA Service Connected Claims at same time and by myself (with a nudge or two by my Senator), and awarded…as you have no idea the half of it. Yeah, endured the dreaded “witch hunts”, interrogated over and over in course of years, to point of even trying to take my own life–all while active duty. All because of ignorance, their ignorance, and their clear medical errors. Compiling a book, very slowly, but am writing a book about my experiences because feel it needs… Read more »
Charles Dean Johnson

I was treated by Dayton VA dentist for two years for dentures . Total nightmare

Frank Calderon
Frank Calderon

Dear Mr. Krause:

What more evidence does the government need or pretend they do, before they criminally prosecute all caught involved in similar shenanigans, they have to really pay for what they may be involved in just as any other criminal caught involved in the performance of felonious acts.

James
That is true the Denver vamc had to stop surgery due to sterilization problems! I called and wanted to see if that was true? The employee who answered the phone, gave to another worker and during the wait time, all I could hear was employees laughing! The employee whom I spoke with had a very strong oriental accent and told me she could not talking about it! The Denver vamc has more problems than the above, They are hurting veterans by using the Disruptive Committee to punish innocent veterans! They cover up employees when they accused veterans of disruptive behavior… Read more »
Josh
Josh
I was excited about this website and what it offered until I had seen I have to pay $20 for info. If this was my website this info would be freely published to all that needed it. I am about to go through the Voc Rehab process and my first phone call with them (about my appointment never coming) was belittling and already made me feel like I am wasting my time. I wanted to be armed to the teeth when I go to my meeting with the intention attending law school or a PhD. I was told by the… Read more »
namnibor
@Josh- What Ben is doing is Non-Profit and am sure that $20. is covering costs of material, time, etc. However, if you are genuinely in need of this info, if you were to say email Benjamin Krause and see if I could purchase the Voc Rehab Guide *for you* by proxy and arrange for you to receive it in lieu of me, I would definitely give you a leg-up if you are in a tight spot. Ben has our email addresses associated with log-in/posting with avatar name, so it should be possible and just thought I’d at least offer to… Read more »
James
Ben I been following your site for quite awhile and I just want to thank you for this site! I know you’re trying to make it better for veterans and I have told my story about the way the VA falsely accused me of disruptive behavior and not one person government official VA, senators have not helped to fix or even speak with me! I know nothing is going to be done at this point, but your site lets me know, that I am just one of many the VA has harmed by false reporting! It helps when I am… Read more »
namnibor

@Benjamin- Thanks for setting me straight on that matter. I should have figured that out myself by (Limited Liability Corp.), and apologize for erroneous information.

M. Mouse
M. Mouse

Let’s wait and see what Dr. Shulkin says about this. Oh, I forgot….he doesn’t say anything bad about the VAHS – only good things Well I guess that’s why he ain’t saying anything – ever. What a disastrous failure the VA is and the crumbs that run it.

crazyelf
crazyelf

Pope Francis has said something astounding,
“[He’s] not against capitalism!” It’s what’s done with it that concerned him. He wants the rich, whether individuals, corporations, governments etc., etc. to help the less fortunate. Basically what Jesus had called for over 2,000 years ago!

namnibor

Yes, it’s brilliantly simple. However, those driven by greed will be the ones quickest to call that “Socialism”…wait for it…too bad we could not have got the Pope to address the treatment of military and Veterans.

crazyelf
crazyelf
namnibor, That would have been great. Yet, it’s come out he isn’t too fond of Obama policies. He’s prolife. Obama is pro abortion. He even spoke about Obama’s immigration policy. I think there’s more to what we didn’t see or hear that will come out sooner or later. That will be the spoiler in what may, or may not, happen when Congress and Senate gets back to work tomorrow. I did read where the Senate had a stalemate on the ‘Planned Parenthood’ vote, and would revote come December. But, I’ve also read the Senate passed it, and it was sent… Read more »
91Veteran
91Veteran

Ben, you should submit a FOIA to the Minneapolis VA for copies of the test results they claim are being conducted on these instruments. Either they produce them showing they are honest in what they are claiming, or they ignore your FOIA or lie about the results. They can prove it by giving you a copy of the results. It would be interesting to watch them squirm if these cancellations are for some other reason and there is no testing going on whatsoever.

ComPvtMajor
Failure to adequately sterilize surgical tools….. This has been going on for years! Many medical centers failed to develop training programs to teach staff how to correctly clean, disinfect and sterilize reusable medical equipment, like surgical equipment, the report said. As a result, staff may not be sterilizing reusable equipment correctly, creating a serious medical risk. MPLS VA – 2007 a first week resident poked a hole through my skull causing a CSF leak, than they used a scope that was more than likely contaminated with Pseudomonas A, a bacteria that causes Meningitis. ( sample from surgery site tested POS… Read more »
sony xperia c5 ultra kılıfları

c5 kılıf

Darrell Austin
1986 Ret visn 12 348 miles away they tryed to force back surgery using unqualified general surgeon in s hospital that smelled like urine. My family has worked in hospitals for a couple of generation I was scared to let them takey blood. I brought my families built in nurse whit me because probls i have communicating with them . She told the doctor your not going to close enough to this vet to break the surface tension of his sweat this place is appalling the only thing that smells worse is your breath. many vet have been infected at… Read more »
wpDiscuz