Atlanta VA hospital suspends elective surgeries amid staff, equipment issues

The Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center has temporarily paused elective surgeries until the end of October, citing equipment and staffing issues, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 

The facility suspended routine surgeries Sept. 23 due to shortages in sterile equipment and sutures, tardy staff and veterans' last-minute cancellations, two hospital employees, who wished to remain anonymous, told AJC. The hospital has performed 130 emergency surgeries since late September, rescheduling or directing 100 nonemergent patients elsewhere.

"Atlanta VA Health Care System is committed to continuously improving patient safety," the hospital told AJC via email. "That's why the facility's leadership made the decision … to temporarily reduce the number of veterans treated for elective cases until the end of October, when the facility's operating rooms will begin phasing in additional cases."

VA officials added that surgical staff will spend the month training and reviewing procedures. 

The Atlanta VA facility drew national attention in September when a dying veteran was found covered in ant bites, and regional director Leslie Wiggins, RN, was put on administrative leave.

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