ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) -- The Atlanta VA Hospital, the largest VA hospital in the southeast has extended a suspension on most routine surgeries.
The surgery hold which was put in place due to multiple safety concerns, has been in effect since September and was supposed to end on the 31st of October.
While the VA couldn’t confirm when things will be back up to normal, one vet says based on his experience he’s not surprised.
“They literally almost killed me. I could have been another statistic,” said Mike Dennard Jr. a veteran who went to the VA hospital earlier this year to get his appendix removed. Dennard says after the surgery he ended up with even bigger problems. “They didn’t know that I was allergic to the medication heparin. I constantly told them I couldn’t breathe and eventually they rushed me to Emory Hospital because I had breathing complications. I had blood clots to my heart my lungs and my legs.”
Dennard says he was also unaware he was allergic to heparin and adds the bigger concern is the lack of attention the detail that caused VA officials to miss his issues, which he says includes the VA not bathing him the entire time he was in their care.
“If they were bathing me they would have seen how much my legs were swollen and tried to find out what was going on sooner before I couldn’t breathe and had blood clots."
Dennard has since filed multiple claims against the VA for malpractice and negligence. He says his story is apart of a bigger concern which supports why many non-emergency surgeries at the hospital have been placed on hold.
The VA would not confirm details as to what prompted the hold but says they have started increasing their OR capacity while ensuring the highest quality of care for veterans.
However, CBS46 has confirmed through multiple sources that lack of staff and a shortage of sterilized instruments could be part of the blame. As for Dennard, he says based on his experience, changes at the VA are necessary.
“They can do more than what they’re doing. First of all start by hiring people who have a caring attitude for our veterans and have empathy for them not just treat them like trash because they’re not trash,” added Dennard.