Staff at the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System left the lifeless body of a deceased veteran in a shower room for nine hours after the veteran passed away. Hospital investigation also revealed that staff members then attempted to cover up the mistake.

Failure To Follow Proper Procedures

Internal investigations have concluded that the staff failed to give the appropriate post-mortem care to the body of the veteran by failing to follow proper pickup procedures and leaving the body unattended for a long time, which increased the likelihood of decomposition.

The veteran, who died in February earlier this year, stayed at the hospice unit of the center in Florida. The hospital's Administrative Investigation Board reported that some of the hospice care staff violated the policies of the hospital and Veterans Affairs. The incident prompted an order for retraining and changes in procedures.

Somebody working in the hospice unit was also found to have falsely documented post-mortem care although it was not determined if the false documentation was intentionally made.

Hospital Action For Erring Hospice Staff Members

Hospital spokesperson Jason Dangel said that the hospital views the findings as unacceptable and has already taken the appropriate personnel action. He declined to expound, though, if the erring workers were disciplined or fired citing confidentiality rules.

"Our expectation that each veteran is transported to their final resting place in the timely, respectful and honorable manner," Dangel said.

Findings Of The Investigation

The investigation found that after the veteran's death, hospice staff members asked a "transporter" to move the body to the morgue, but the transporter instructed them to inform the dispatchers. The request, however, was never made, and nobody arrived to get and move the body away.

The staff members eventually moved the body to the shower room where it was left for over nine hours.

Healthcare Problems In VA Centers

The investigative report added that some of the hospice staff showed a lack of concern, respect, and attention for the unnamed veteran, which unfortunately, is not an isolated issue. Several VA centers have recently been hounded by healthcare issues.

Earlier this month, four employees at a veterans facility in Oklahoma decided to resign or face risk of being terminated from their jobs after maggots were found in the wound of one of the center's resident.

A dentist working at the Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center also possibly exposed nearly 600 veterans to HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C because of his failure to follow standard infection control procedures.

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