Foley Catheter Gilbert Harris Kansas City VA

Med Mal: VA Clinician Injures Veteran’s Penis With Catheter, Dies Of Sepsis

One veteran died from botched care at Kansas City VA where an unnamed VA clinician injured the inside of a patient’s penis by inflating a catheter in the urethra instead of the bladder by mistake. His widow is suing VA for malpractice.

Disabled veteran Gilbert Harris, 52, visited Kansas City VA on May 12, 2016, seeking care for neurogenic bladder. The condition causes a bladder to become overactive or underactive. An unnamed clinician removed Harris’ catheter and inserted a new one, but the employee failed to put it in far enough.

By the time Harris returned to the nursing home that night, he was “noted to have a fever and large amounts of blood and clotting at the end of his penis.” A later CT scan revealed the clinician inflated the catheter inside the veteran’s urethra.

Some time later, Harris was taken to the Nevada Regional Medical Center in Missouri. There, he was diagnosed with an acute urinary tract infection and sepsis. He was then taken back to VA to die.

The agency performed an all too late CT scan but the veteran died of sepsis before emergency room staff could save him.

The lawsuit filed by Harris’ widow, Patricia, seeks unspecified damages for being deprived of companionship and for “great conscious physical pain and mental anguish” that Harris suffered before he died.

The news report by The Kansas City Star leaves out some details I cannot help but wonder.

How much time spanned between the penis injury and diagnosis of sepsis? When a Foley catheter is inflated in the urethra instead of the bladder, and blood comes out, how did the unnamed VA clinician miss the error in the first place?

Injuries of this type are rather rare, and death from that same injury is even rarer. The odds of this happening certainly calls into question the competence of the professional who failed to insert the catheter properly.


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  1. There is no excuse for something like this to happen because you’re supposed to insert the catheter all the way until you get to the hub where it splits in two. By that time you know you’re in the bladder because no man has a penis that long. Plus you can see some urine in the tubing.

    The risk of infection was higher in this case because an old catheter was removed right before inserting a new one and the old catheter had colonized bacteria which happens 48 hours after insertion.

  2. Makes me so angry! There are good people at the VA, but after awhile they zone out the idiots and this what happens. If up to me and was able to make, I would walk or scooter and check on vets hospitalized. We here probably 5% of the crap they do. By talking to vets can make sure not laying in waste, last time bathed and how they feel. It is such a huge problem, it’s disgusting. Was at the pharmacy and a vet who was 85, living alone smelled or urine so bad I almost had to leave, he was there getting skin cancer removed. When a doctor or nurse comes across a vet like this, they have a policy that is supposed to be followed. They are to contact the, cognitive issues and can’t remember position called one in each firm, sure someone knows. I get depressed badly with memory problems. Anyway it’s reported, that position checks on him, see why not keeping clean or bathing and a home visit to make sure livable. Too much work and I would bet they went around making fun of him. Just by how bad he was, he must have some sort of home visitation so he’s clean and safe. My hatred of the VA is sometimes exhausting. Before my own life took a shit, I would have gotten the counselor or whatever the name and made them come out and would not leave until a home visit was scheduled. I forget, but I believe once when someone comes in like that they were admitted, cleaned and tried calling a relative. There is no excuse for anyone to lose their life over stupidity. A nurse, doctors and residents are supposed to check connections and drainage. I’ve been in bed at a VA and cried till couldn’t any more wishing for death until so tired passed out. I have no idea idea why these asshats work there if you are so lazy you can’t make a phone call. Today I met a pretty good, well mannered doctor that cared and a nice person. The world is not right if I’m celebrating meeting one good person. Need to form a watchdog group that reports problems while walking around the hell holes. I’m 52 and tired of crying, when younger was manly and was not able to shed one tear. It’s fucking insane the everyday occurrences that plague most ever Hospital and clinics. I used to help if seen a problem and wait however long it took to correct, they hated me for it. Now I can’t take care of myself and just want everything to be over. It can’t be fixed. It’s past ridiculous when it’s a job to troll veterans on sites as this and social media sites, but can check on someone’s procedure and save a life. Sad, God Bless

  3. cj ¯¯̿̿¯̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿̿)͇̿̿)̿̿̿̿ ‘̿̿̿̿̿̿\̵͇̿̿\=(•̪̀●́)=o/̵͇̿̿/’̿̿ ̿ ̿̿ says:

    @Windguy: Hey Windguy, go to the Library of congress, online, and do a search for (2015bit28255.pdf), I think your going to enjoy this.

    1. cj ¯¯̿̿¯̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿̿)͇̿̿)̿̿̿̿ ‘̿̿̿̿̿̿\̵͇̿̿\=(•̪̀●́)=o/̵͇̿̿/’̿̿ ̿ ̿̿ says:

      It’s a bread baking book from 1857.

  4. Clinician???
    That word could be code for a secretary with time on her hands. ‘Clinician’ never indicates a professionally licensed care provider. In a health care facility only licensed health care providers should be allowed to perform this type of procedure. I know there are thousands of vetrans, men and women, that perform a ‘self-cath’ daily, but that’s not the subject here. Another veteran dying in a system that is too irresponsible to care enough to provide competent professional healthcare is the subject. It leaves me feeling both sad and helpless.

  5. can somebody please tell me how many hoops you have to jump through to get some meds from the VA. My civilian MD prescribed a pain med for me because I am unable to take Aleve or Aspirin or any such meds because of my heart meds. I submitted the prescription to my VA MD and since it is not in their inventory they will give me an alternative which I know won’t work. This is not the first time they have done this shit.

  6. Had basically the same thing happen to me, trainee was doing the work and then of a sudden extreme pain, hurt so bad I screamed, so now I have leakage problem and take vesicare medication and the VA is giving me a token $100+ a month. Now the good part, requested all records from ER visit through hospital stay of 7 days and no where could I find anything concerning the catheter. Reason for visit semi annual physical and I was in AFIB so was walked over to the ER. This was at the Hampton VA. MY FAMILY has bee instructed to never allow me to be put in a VA hospital

  7. OMG – I hope with the new bill that President Trump passed yesterday, disasters like this will be eliminated. However when in need of medical care, it is a crapshoot out there, both in the VA and in the private sector. Best to take care of yourself and hope that this will suffice.


  8. This is another prime example of why I don’t use VAMC’s. Their not incompetent, but very good at their jobs as VA hit men. One veteran was beat to death at VAMC Pineville La. but still worked there for around four years with a charge of manslaughter as his court dates were extended trying to white wash the incident. I don’t qualify for Choice because I live w/i 40 miles of a VA clinic that doesn’t have the care I need. I don’t have reliable trans. but that is never considered. I’m writing a letter to the president requesting I be allowed choice because I fear for my life at VAMC’s and shouldn’t be required to use them. Choice 40 is still in this new legislation Isaakson sponsored and doesn’t change a thing. Staying away from VAMC’s is the best thing I can do for my health. Thanks America

  9. One of the first items I learnt in Hospital Corps school many moons ago was deflate upon removal of catheter, inflate only when urine is present. But the dumbf#$ks these days aren’t taught that in clinical training. When I left the Navy with my degree and a nursing license, I decided that the VA & private, public health was a waste of my skills and knowledge.

    The health care industry is full of “third country nationals” with their diploma mill degrees & certification and 90% do it for the $$$$. They’re damn unless and uncaring and couldn’t give two shits about your emotional well being and your pain level is just a number to chart.

    Corp school,FMS & SAR training taught me a lot more and how individual need different treatments based on their needs !!! I hope & pray the widow gets financially taken care off for the rest of her life.

  10. @ nextdeceptus
    I understand the thing about ‘training’ the next era of doctors at va hospitals….. lots of patients, limited liability and most of the time the vet has unique ailments to train on. You do have the right to decline the presence of ‘observers’. I can tell you from experience, they don’t like you exercising that right

  11. I had a Urodynamic procedure 8 months ago at Mather. I have a Distended urinary bladder with trabeculations and diverticula secondary to chronic obstructive uropathy. I had one of those caths stuck in me for about 2 months. when they started the procedure, one of those half dozen millennials standing around gawking jerked the cath out without deflating the marble sized bubble. You could hear me yell 5 miles away. Then she says (wow he’s sure sensitve). Fucking bitch. I couldn’t get up to knock her on her ass. I was in so much pain I couldn’t react.Now I’m really messed up and have to see my doctor next week.

    1. Nexdeceptus

      Hope they can get you lined out and cared for properly. It’s not only the VA needs fixing. The entire damn medical “practicing” fields needs over-hauled, retrained, held accountable, instead of being supported, protected and impossible to deal with. Some of the stuff we can deal with is what most think just happens on TV or some ER show.

      Unknown to me at the time of them breaking and shattering my jaw while pulling a (1 molar) tooth I don’t know which kiddy did it or how many was in the small room around having fun or turns. Last count was four standing I think and a few more in and out. Had instruments dropped down my throat and luckily I felt them enough I could close my neck off so they wouldn’t drop down any further than they did. “Oops sorry tee hee hee hee.” That was a first and having my head in a head lock type hold and in an armpit in dentistry. Took over a year to discover I had a broken jaw while picking bone and tooth out as the swelling continued to decrease and really bad issues became apparent. On top of other issues. My after care check up ten days later was told all looked fine. I couldn’t tell what the hell was going on with my jaw or that it all was even swollen that bad at the time.

      WE are not supposed to be lab-rats or test subject like cadavers to be “practiced” on. If so then pay us like they do students and others to participate in their college activities and studies. Like today none of them or health care give a damn how much or what kind of pain we are in, suffer, ha ha, pay us. While they all claim excellence, quality care and compassion. Horse poop.

      Why does it seem colleges seem to have rule over us or having to live in college towns where their PC-ness, studies, research, expectations and demands rule? They are KIDS and many times spoiled brats we deal with along with huge egos and trained ‘not give a damn’ attitudes. Plus the activist side of them.

      IU is one of them mentioned at the VA that along with them (VA) they control all our health care here. They are also the providers of those youth that have grown up or social engineered in lefty colleges to have zero respect for some of us or us “baby boomers” and white people who are blamed for every wrong in the world and locally. Same kind I am constantly dealing with locally today.

      Just another write up about it. Still have not heard how they will pay for this while SS and Medicare goes broke, medical costs sky-rocket, medical scams galore, etc.

      Thought I’d post this tid-bit since back in the day during more reports about the knock-out game going on with white vets and white seniors being targets or threatened with it. Plus the protests that may be going on at the time. And more. In the big city and around the VA by the activist. After being lost due to road repairs or “progress” having to go through highly undesirable neighborhoods around the city I asked to not be given evening or late evening appointments in town that would have me driving around dealing with big city crimes and detours. No, I was told by the PA when dealing with other crap how safe and loving the big city was and all that crime, large groups in the roads not moving and negative encounters were in my head. Duh. Like dealing with issues with the VA are not enough. Not according to another vet I was talking to outside the VA having a smoke that was stabbed in the neck driving through unfamiliar territory and never reported about. And he didn’t want to push the issue due to gang land retaliation and affiliations at the VA and big city life/connections. Oh everything is perfect all around us, happy happy happy.

  12. I havea novel idea of retaliatory punishment for the Kansas City VA Clinician responsible for instigating death of this Veteran:

    Take VA Clinician to an operating room, preferably one with plenty of flies, then take a deflated football, shove up their asses, inflate, repeat as required for sepsis onset, set, and forget. DONE!

    Too extreme? Consider the VA Clinician lucky; I was firstly thinking volleyball or soccer…but am sure we can work our way-up to larger diameters, given time, then get exonerated for the deed by POTUS later….

      1. I agree, should just cut them head to toe and wrap them around a 20 man self inflating life raft then super glue back up and pull the string.

    1. @Seymore Klearly- I like your thinking there but if I may add one alteration to your plan with the 20 man self-inflating life raft, it would be to set and forget it inside a room filled with dancing monkeys and simply wait for the first dance act deciding to pull the string turning all inside-out.

  13. Leave it only to the VA to screw-up a blow-job. OUCH, indeed! I hope this widow receives oodles of $$$$ from these indifferent rat bastards.

  14. From a slide show presentation published in The Charlotte Observer, by Neil Nakahodo on June 4th, 2018, on what occurred with this Veteran a little more can be learned from several of portions of the slide show report that shows segments of the court filings by the plaintiff.

    Four things that are clear from the segments of the filing shown in the slideshow report and they are;

    1.) The VA didn’t pay the emergency room bill at the Nevada Regional Medical Center. Instead the dead Veterans wife had to pay it.
    2.) The Veteran was immediately taken to the emergency room at Nevada Regional Medical Center as soon as he arrived at the Skilled nursing facility where he resided.
    3.) He was transferred via ambulance the same day May 12, 2016 from Nevada Regional Medical center to the VA
    4.) Given it is impossible, even with the improperly inflated catheter, to develop an acute urinary tract infection and sepsis in the time it takes to ride home from the hospital. Clearly, he had the acute urinary tract infection and sepsis while he was seen at the VA the first time before they damaged him further. Which brings into question how long had this Veteran been waiting to get an appointment to be seen at the VA to see the Negligent Care provider?

    Anybody care to bet he was only seen by a nurse playing doctor at the VA while he was seen the first time.

    Here are portion of the widow’s court filings that were readable from the slide show report.


    Items 1 thru 13 were not readable


    14. On May 12, 2016 Decedent was seen at the VA urology clinic for neurogenic bladder. The VA provider removed Decedent’s indwelling catheter and inserted a new indwelling penile Foley catheter.

    15. Upon returning to the skilled nursing facility where he resides, Decedent was noted to have a fever and large amounts of blood and clotting at the end of his penis and in the Foley bag.

    16. Decedent was transported by ambulance to the emergency department at Nevada Regional Medical Center where he was diagnosed with an acute urinary tract infection and sepsis.

    17. In the late evening of May 12, 2016, Decedent was transferred via ambulance from Nevada Regional Medical center to the VA for further treatment.


    Items 18 thru 25 not shown


    26. As a direct and proximate result of the carelessness and negligence of Defendant, Plaintiff suffered harm, injury, and damage in the following particulars:

    a. Decedent was required to undergo multiple painful medical treatments and incurred the expense of those treatments; and

    b. Decedent suffered from pain, suffering, mental anguish, inconvenience, physical impairment, disfigurement, and loss of capacity to enjoy life.

    27. As a direct and proximate result of the carelessness and negligence of Defendant, decedent was deprived of a significant material chance of survival/recovery and he was thereby damaged.


    The Charlotte Observer slide show can be seen at: “”

    1. I hope they record this Veteran’s true cause of Death on his death certificate as:

      Cause of Death: Homicide — “Veterans Affairs Health Care”

      1. Seymore,
        In my opinion, the wife of the veteran will possibly receive lots of money. Only it’ll be under “nondisclosure terms”! And, the VA will quietly “sweep it under the rug”. Where it’ll be hard to find any information about it in the future!

  15. Like I said on FB about this, if this had happened in Indiana I doubt we’d hear a word about it since censoring is so bad and for years now hospital and other in-house issues were kept… in-house. Along with everything else in this state and town I wouldn’t exactly trust coroners either if used. No negatives allowed around here since no blemishes are allowed, everything must be fairy dust, happiness, joy, rainbows and unicorns. Anything else is bad for the tourist trade, colleges, town’s images, etc.

    I don’t know how rare this stuff is. I know in the past we had hell over various issues with civvy nursing homes. Vets using the VA over this and using leaky colon bags, etc., too. Dad and his folks refused to have anything to do with VA care. He was ‘forced’ into a nursing home and ended up with near constant urinary track/other infections due to catheters along with many male patients on this floor. Dealing with yet another female uncaring Paki MD that didn’t care to take time to talk to family. Things like that took people months and years to get the state to come in to investigate things. They allow things to go unchecked or changed until infection happens then pump them full of SSRIs to dumb them down and antibiotics until their digestive track shuts down then give them stuff to try and get bowl movements unless they are so full they put them courses of enemas to try to get fermented nasties, or blockages, out of them that have to be allowing other nasties to get into their bodies making things worse. Or going in for surgery to clean things up, or try to. Letting them lay and getting bed sores are more issues and don’t help other health issues being more truth tellers or hints about ‘care.’

    People are too damn trusting in others especially in the health care fields, VA or not. Maybe too squeamish for their own good or afraid to walk-in when told to stay away from patients due to “rules” until they are cleaned up or prepared for a visit. Wait to be cleaned up??? If a loved one has a DNR people had better stay with them and not tolerate any long wait times or excuses. If so you may be leaving a loved one pushed in a room alone to lay in their own filth until dead by uncaring trophy nurses doing their nails or whatever. Days of older styled patient care and bed-side manners are gone. What we may see on TV is not what you may get in reality.

    1. A very similar thing happened to me at the West Roxbury VA last summer. 8 Nurses had no clue how to catheterize, the resident got irritated, and sexually assaulted me while still failing to catheterize me. VA pigs did an investigation and are denying my FOIA request of their report.

  16. cj ¯¯̿̿¯̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿̿)͇̿̿)̿̿̿̿ ‘̿̿̿̿̿̿\̵͇̿̿\=(•̪̀●́)=o/̵͇̿̿/’̿̿ ̿ ̿̿ says:

    It may be rare, but at the VA, many rare things, seem to be happening all the time.
    All those highly qualified world class quacks, I mean ducks, I mean Doc’s they keep telling us about.

  17. I think the “OUCH” part was disrespectful and in poor form! A serious male injury was not FUNNY! Would you have said “OUCH” if a woman veteran suffered a serious and painful VAGINAL injury!? Society has been doing that to men FOREVER!!

    1. cj ¯¯̿̿¯̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿’̿̿̿̿̿’̿̿̿)͇̿̿)̿̿̿̿ ‘̿̿̿̿̿̿\̵͇̿̿\=(•̪̀●́)=o/̵͇̿̿/’̿̿ ̿ ̿̿ says:

      Rick, sending a Veteran to the VA is disrespectful.

      I am sorry to hear of the loss of another Veteran at the hands of this corrupt agency.

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