SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) – The head of the Salt Lake City Veterans Administration Hospital says that she is investigating why a patient was recently treated inside a dirty examination room.
Chief of Staff Dr. Karen Gribbin says that veteran Christopher Wilson should have never been take into that examination room but at a news conference Monday afternoon she explained why he was.
“This particular day the afternoon session was very busy,” Dr. Gribbin said. “Staff were really trying to get patients in and not have them wait a long time and unfortunately Mr. Wilson was taken into that room to expedite his appointment.”
The two tour Iraq war veteran took photos of the room where he underwent a series of shots in his ankle.
“Garbage was full, sinks were a mess,” Wilson told News4Utah Saturday. “Kind of interesting that they would put a patient in there and they did injections in that room.”
Dr. Gribbin explained that earlier in the day 8 diabetic ulcer patients received foot casts in that room.
“Mixing up of the plaster and applying the casts causes some mess. Plaster is a messy substance,” she said. “This was not the kind of patient experience that we strive for at Salt Lake City and want to reassure all of you that we are doing everything in our power to make sure this never happens again.”
Wilson says it’s symptomatic of larger problems within the VA medical system.
“It feels like I’m beating my head against the wall sometimes with them, trying to get in and meet with doctors,” he said. “I know it’s really a funding issue, there’s no way with the amount of staff that they have to care for all the veterans.”
Dr. Gribbin disagrees.
“The Salt Lake City VA has enjoyed an excellent reputation nationally and locally,” she told reporters. “I think the saddest thing to come out of this is the damage to that and the potential damage to the trust that our veterans have in us.”
Dr. Gribbin says her investigation will take about two more days and when she finds out who is responsible “appropriate action will be taken”.