VA hospital cancels surgeries after discovery of dirty tools

Surgeries have been suspended indefinitely at the John Cochran Veterans Administration Hospital in St. Louis after tools appeared to be dirty, the hospital's medical director announced yesterday. The VA hospital will have to reschedule 35 surgeries, reports KMOV.

"VA will work with all affected veterans to reschedule surgical appointments or arrange for alternate care in any urgent cases," medical director RimaAnn Nelson said in a statement.

Following complaints about harmful unsanitary conditions, hospital officials inspected all other surgical materials and tested all surgery-related equipment, notes the Associated Press.

This is far from the first sterilization issue at the VA hospital. Last summer, Cochran put more than 1,800 veterans at risk for HIV because of improperly washed dental equipment. A more recent incident involves spots on the trays of surgical tools about to be used on patients.

U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan's office is investigating the contamination issue, as well as hundreds of other complaints about Cochran VA. Carnahan, an advocate of quality healthcare for veterans, has just accepted a new position on the House Veterans Affairs committee.

"The problems at John Cochran VA Medical Center make it abundantly clear that we can never rest in our efforts to ensure veterans are in fact receiving that top quality care," Carnahan said in a statement. "This new committee assignment will help me fight that battle."

VA Cochran has yet to release how many patients might be affected or when surgeries might resume, according to the AP.

For more:
- read this Associated Press article
- check out the KMOV story
- here's Carnahan's statement