Quality of care concerns close VA surgical unit


BAY PINES, Fla. (WFLA) – Concerns about quality of care have shut down the thoracic surgery unit at the VA hospital at Bay Pines.

VA spokesperson Jason Dangel confirms the decision to “temporarily pause thoracic surgeries.”

The Joint Commission, a group that accredits hospitals, received a complaint about the thoracic unit and notified Bay Pines.

Sources tell us at least three patients died within six weeks in the hospital while in post operative care following thoracic surgeries.

Earlier this year, the VA’s Office of the Inspector General investigated a complaint at Bay Pines that claimed “a thoracic surgeon was incompetent.”

“The incompetence resulted in a high rate of complications and patient deaths,” according to the complaint.

The OIG investigation did not substantiate the surgeon was incompetent.

It did find the process for evaluating the competency of surgeons at Bay Pines was deficient.

The thoracic surgical unit will remain closed until an external team reviews the program.

Veterans in need of urgent or emergency thoracic care will be referred to other VA facilities or surgical centers within the community.

If you have something that you think should be investigated, call our Target 8 Helpline at 1-800-338-0808. Contact Steve Andrews at sandrews@wfla.com.

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