Reports of past filth, rodents, and insects at Veterans Hospital in Kansas City present an appalling picture. Officials at the hospital ... must do everything possible to ensure that their patients receive the respect and care they deserve.
In addition, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs must determine how these problems were allowed to develop - and how they can be avoided in the future. Inspections ... by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, for example, have been considered in the past. This idea deserves serious reconsideration.
A recent report in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine said that the hospital in Kansas City was overrun with flies and mice in mid-1998. Nurses even found maggots growing in the noses of two comatose patients. Both patients, astoundingly, were in the intensive-care unit.
... Problems continued into 1999, when flies were in the operating room area. ...
Any pest or sanitation problems in a medical environment ... should be considered serious. The Kansas City hospital obviously failed many of its past patients by providing substandard care.
Although reforms and improvements have apparently been made, hospital employees must remain vigilant in keeping their facility clean and protecting their patients.
No doubt the recent report has embarrassed and upset many diligent employees at the hospital. To win back public confidence, they must redouble their efforts to keep the hospital free of pests.
They must also resist the temptation to downplay the severity of past problems.
No patient should ever have to worry about such problems when they enter a hospital. Certainly those who have helped to defend our country deserve better.