May 27th, 2013
10:49 PM ET

Keeping Them Honest: Deadly bacteria in VA hospital

As AC360 first reported back in December 2012, the Veterans Administration hospital in Pittsburgh had high levels of Legionella bacteria in its water supply, but for months failed to solve the problem.

Staff and patients weren't made aware of the issue, and at least five patients died. Eventually drinking fountains were sealed off and patients stopped getting baths and showers, but it was too late for some of those who came into contact with the bacteria.

Victims' families are livid about how the problem was mishandled. "There were deaths before him that we didn't know about. We wouldn't have gone there ... He had a good outlook on life. He felt he had more time left," says Sandy Riley whose brother Mitch Wanstreet died after contracting Legionnaire's disease at the hospital.

Now the VA's inspector general confirms in a scathing report that hospital administrators knew they had a serious situation but didn't address it. CNN's Drew Griffin has an update to his original report, including an unsettling development: a top administrator received a bonus despite the deadly outbreak.

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Filed under: Keeping Them Honest • Medical News • Veterans
soundoff (One Response)
  1. steve wilkins

    This problem with the VA (Dept. of Veterans Affairs, not Veterans Administration, as you incorrectly referred to it) is bad enough without you trying to muddy the waters even more by not following known and well-established protocol in getting prior permission to enter VA grounds. Your organization is well aware of the policy that VA doesn't allow media on the grounds without first coordinating with Public Affairs. That you fimed and showed your error is abominable. That you don't even get the name of a cabinet level department correct is shameful. The fact is that the story is terrible, all on its own. The people at VA obviously don't have a problem talking to you. You said they answered your call later in the broadcast. So, let's keep it clean.

    May 29, 2013 at 9:11 am |