Brian Kelly

ST. LOUIS (KMOX)- Just over 13 months after inadequately sterilized dental equipment at the John Cochran VA Medical Center spread fear among veterans that they may have been infected with a blood-borne illness,  the Veterans Affairs Secretary says he is satisfied “We are turning the corner” in improving patient safety and service at the hospital.

Eric Shinseki gave that assessment after speaking at the AMVETS convention downtown. Shinseki says, “Many of the things that were in place when we were watching what was happening here, much of that has begun to be healed.”

John Cochran Director Rima Nelson says no one was fired in the wake of the issue involving the dirty dental equipment and the improperly sanitized surgical equipment that soon followed, “Our focus is really on a culture of safety… in order to promote that culture of safety it cannot be about blame, because if it’s about blame people are not going to report. The focus is on the systems and the processes that have failed. We are committed to minimizing the barriers that prevent our staff from doing the great job that they’ve been doing and the job that helped us to identify the areas that we needed to improve on.”

Nelson says the promised top to bottom review of the hospital, is always ongoing. “We have continued to review every system and process that’s in place and we will always do that.”

Copyright KMOX Radio


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