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VA Looking into Surgical Deaths

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is currently investigating the nine surgical deaths that recently occurred at the Marion VA Medical Center.

The center lost nine patients in a period of time that, according to Sen. Dick Durbin, would have only seen two deaths at the most.

Durbin, and other officials, are now investigating whether or not a surgeon, who lost his license to practice medicine in Massachusetts, was involved in the deaths.

Spike in Hospital Deaths

When a computer analysis showed a sudden spike in patient deaths, inpatient surgeries were suspended and VA officials began an ongoing investigation.

Computer reports showed that between October 2006 and March 2007 nine patients died at the Marion VA.

State officials believe, that Dr. Jose Veizaga-Mendez, who worked at the hospital during this time, played a role in the patient deaths.

“They said that these were very aggressive surgeries for this hospital, very complex surgeries,” says Durbin.

Surgeon in Question

Veizaga-Mendez’s medical license was revoked in Massachusetts during the summer of 2006 when authorities claimed he has been providing “grossly substandard care” which led to the death of several of his patients.

Veizaga-Mendez resigned from the Marion VA in August after one of his patients there bled to death.

“Early evidence indicates that some bad decisions were made about surgeries,” says Durbin. “There were surgeries that should have taken place at a much larger hospital. Nine patients may have died as a result of those bad decisions.”

(Source: Chicago Tribune)

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