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Federal Veterans Affairs Officials had assumed that the VA medical center in Marion, Illinois would clean up its act after being under such intense scrutiny for 2 years. However, serious safety issues continue to be a problem at the southern Illinois hospital even after Federal Veterans Affairs officials suspended surgeries in 2007 at the location after an investigation revealed at least nine deaths attributable to substandard care between October 2006 and March 2007.

While the hospital still isn’t performing any major surgeries, outpatient procedures are still performed there. The most recent inspector general’s report indicates that the hospital failed to monitor 87%, or 20 out of 23, of its physicians to ensure procedures were properly performed. Furthermore, there are problems with infection control, specifically staph infections, after a patient with a history of MRSA staph infections was put in a room with two other patients and shared a bathroom. Additionally, there are other problems with poor medication management and monitoring, patient data analysis, and tracking patient deaths. In fact, according to the hospital’s own reports, there were three different tallies for April 2009 deaths and two deaths went completely unreported. These problems are no different than those that occurred a few years ago: the most severe case involved a veteran who bled to death after receiving a faulty gallbladder surgery. The surgeon resigned just three days after the man’s death.

The inspector general has once again ordered the hospital to completely redesign its reporting structure and investigations of the hospital will continue until all the problems are resolved.

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