Doctor accuses VA hospital staff of delaying patient care
A former hospital employee in Phoenix has accused staff members of having a secret waiting list for patient care. Now, three executives for the city's Veterans Affairs Health Care System, including a hospital director, are on administrative leave pending an investigation.
Dr. Samuel Foote, who worked at the hospital, says delayed care led to more than 40 deaths and the hospital is doing the right thing by putting the employees on leave.
"There is quite a tangled web that has been weaved. It's going to take the IG a while to sort through all that, but I think they are getting excellent input from the staff."
Foote told KPHO he has physical proof he has shared with the inspector general's office, but he can't show his information to reporters while the investigation is ongoing.
But, after an internal investigation, the head of veteran health services at the VA says it hasn't turned up any evidence of a secret list or deaths due to delayed care. Foote is still backing what he has said before. KSAZ reports, "I don't know how he can possibly make that statement. There is a mountain of evidence on that subject sitting on the IG desk in Phoenix, and it's growing larger every single day."
Along with Foote's allegations, the hospital's medical director, Dr. Katherine Mitchell, told The Arizona Republic the VA hospital has had problems with being understaffed in the past.
"I was afraid that a patient would die because I could not get to them fast enough. I did not have the resources. ... Unless we had additional staffing ... the ER would be too dangerous to continue, and we should be shut down immediately."
So far, no comment from any of the employees who are on administrative leave.