Did VA hospital leaders ignore recalls on faulty medical equipment?
By: Leo Shane III
August 26, 2019
Dennis McLain, head of the facility’s National Nurses United chapter, said the manufacturer of the IV tubing (BD, headquartered in New Jersey) issued an urgent recall of the equipment two weeks earlier, instructing hospitals to “destroy all products” found in their inventory.
Chemotherapy is administered to a cancer patient via intravenous drip at a North Carolina hospital in 2013. (Gerry Broome/AP)Staffers at a Florida-based Veterans Affairs hospital say leadership ignored a medical equipment recall for weeks — even after a patient’s life was endangered — despite repeated warnings their inaction violated health and safety norms.
But officials at the James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital in Tampa said their week they have removed all of the faulty items without any harm to patients, dismissing concerns that proper procedures were not followed.
It’s unclear whether the dispute is isolated to the single VA medical center or indicative of larger problems with recall alerts throughout the nation’s veterans hospital system. Department of Veterans Affairs officials in Washington, D.C. referred all questions to local hospital officials.
At issue is a July 31 incident where a patient at the Tampa medical center received too much prescribed medication because of what nurses described as malfunctioning IV equipment. Tubing designed to slowly drip out fluids into the patient’s bloodstream instead allowed a rush of medication all at once. In a grievance filed with facility leadership, staff said a medical disaster was avoided only because nurses on duty quickly diagnosed and responded to the problem.
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