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Published On: Mon, May 7th, 2018

CBS reveals Los Angeles VA facility cancelled, postponed dozens of procedures due to fly infestation

 CBS Los Angeles investigative reporter David Goldstein revealed Tuesday that the VA West Los Angeles Medical Center has cancelled or postponed dozens of surgeries due to a fly infestation. The three-month investigation included hidden-camera video from inside the hospital.

From November 2016 to this February, operating rooms were closed for 22 days, which led to 83 cancelled or delayed surgeries. In the rooms and halls are green lights, fly traps — there are more than 200 such fly traps throughout the facility.

(Image: A reconstruction of the tiny phorid fly Euryplatea nanaknihali, with body size compared with a house fly (Musca domestica); Credit: Inna-Marie Strazhnik)

Brian Brown, curator of entomology at the LA Museum of Natural History, said the Phorid flies “are attracted to open wounds for the fluids that they need to sustain themselves and also to keep from drying out.

“They could also lay eggs on the open wounds,” Brown said.

Dr. Christian Head, a head and neck surgeon at the VA West Los Angeles Medical Center, told Goldstein that some of the veterans whose surgeries have been cancelled “may have been waiting four, five weeks, or sometimes longer.”

“This is a continuation of delayed care for veterans,” he said. “I don’t believe there’s any hospital in this country that would find it acceptable to have flies on a routine basis.”

In a statement, the VA says:

“We found zero evidence of patient harm” but closed the operating rooms “out of an abundance of caution.”

They say “currently all operation rooms are open.”

And they’re working closely with national subject matter experts to ensure this does not occur again.

But the flytraps are still in place, and doctors we spoke with say they have no doubt the flies will remain a problem affecting the care of veterans in West LA.

Public domain image/skeeze

About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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