Veteran's Administration Pulls Plug on Major Surgeries

Veteran's Administration Pulls Plug on Major Surgeries
By: Arnold Wyrick

MARION, Il. - An alarming report on in-patient surgeries Thursday put a stop to all major and complex surgeries performed at the Marion, Illinois VA Medical Center.
The VA's National Surgery Quality Improvement Program uncovered the problem while looking over the number of deaths related to complex surgeries at the center.
"When the VA was running data they discovered that some of the operations were out of line.  The data showed there were too many deaths," said VA Public Affairs Officer Jim Gleisberg.
The director and chief-of-staff were also reassigned to other areas of the VA system.
And for some veterans news of the shutdown didn't come as such a surprise because they too have had problems with some of their surgical procedures at the Marion VA.
"They tested a spot here on my cheek and it come back malignant.  But, when they did the surgery they went in here by my eye and on the nose and ignored this one.  So as a result I've been reluctant to go back over there for any surgery," said Chuck Hankins of Marion, Illinois.
The hospital spokesperson wouldn't say exactly what surgical procedures were resulting in the increased death rates at the Marion Va compared to the national average for similar procedures.
"Well, our complex surgeries have been stopped.  Our out-patient surgeries will continue.  And our daily healthcare to the veterans will continue.  So we're still open," Glesiberg said.
That's good news for many local veterans here in the Heartland who rely upon the VA for their health problems.
"My overall care is excellent.  I have no qualms at all concerning the care I've received.  I've had good care from all the ones I've had any dealings with," said Harry Hammers of Marion, Illinois.
But, for those veterans who were scheduled for a major medical operation, they're now going to have to go somewhere else to have their surgery.