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Watchdog finds more unsafe practices at VA medical center

Over the past few years, the news media has come to understand that the federal government's Department of Veterans Affairs has more than its share of problems with patient care and safety. One of the VA's most problem-plagued hospitals can be found in Tomah, Wisconsin, where investigators uncovered evidence that doctors handed out opiates to patients like candy.

Some veterans who were patients at the facility began referring to the place as "Candy Land" because of the proliferation there of opiate prescriptions. An investigation found "unsafe medical practices" at the medical center, along with a culture of fear that made it difficult for staffers to report irregularities.

In the past few days, another bombshell went off at the Tomah facility as the VA's watchdog agency said staff there failed to report a dentist who routinely used improperly sterilized equipment that could have exposed hundreds of vets to HIV, hepatitis and other blood borne infections.

The dentist in question was suspended and then resigned, a newspaper reported.

Once again, a hostile work environment -- cited in the Candy Land scandal as well -- appears to have contributed to staffers' failure to report safety violations.

The dentist apparently knowingly used unsterilized equipment on more than 100 patients and also had substandard hand-washing habits. Staff members told investigators that he also sometimes slept during clinic hours.

An experienced attorney can help victims of VA negligence pursue medical malpractice claims. You can contact San Antonio's Law Office of Jeffrey C. Anderson for more information.

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