Health Care

VA hospital cancels dozens of surgeries due to insect infestation: report

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A Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital in Los Angeles was forced to close operating rooms for 22 days between 2016 and 2018 due to a persistent infestation of insects.

A local CBS News investigation found that the VA West Los Angeles Medical Center has installed at least 200 flytraps to deal with an infestation of Phorid flies in operating rooms that has plagued the building since at least November of 2016.

The infestation has gotten so bad that multiple operating rooms have been forced to close for days at a time, delaying surgeries and stymieing doctors seeking to treat wounded and chronically suffering veterans.

{mosads}Etymologists told CBS that the Phorid flies are attracted to open wounds, where they seek to lay eggs. They are also known for transmitting dirt and bacteria, causing an additional health risk.

A former investigator for the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee told the news station that the failure to clean up the years-long infestation represents a failure at the “highest levels” of the agency.

“The fact that VA has waited for more than two years to properly address this, I think underscores leadership failure at the highest levels,” said Eric Hannel.

In a statement to CBS, the VA claims all the operating rooms are currently open and that the infestation poses no risk to patients.

“We found zero evidence of patient harm” but closed the operating rooms “out of an abundance of caution,” the agency told CBS.

“Currently all operation rooms are open,” the statement adds.

There is currently no official nominee to serve as head of the VA.

President Trump’s pick to replace David Shulkin as VA secretary withdrew his name last week after a series of damaging allegations about his workplace behavior surfaced in the media.

The nominee, Navy Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, the presidential physician, was accused of drunken behavior on the job and inappropriately intervening in a medical situation involving Karen Pence, among other allegations.

Tags California David Shulkin David Shulkin Donald Trump Karen Pence Los Angeles ronny jackson Trump administration Veterans' Affairs

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