Patient body left in shower for 9+ hours at Fla. VA hospital, report finds


A body was left in a shower for more than nine hours at the Bay Pines (Fla.) VA Healthcare System after the veteran died in February in the Bay Pines hospice unit, according to the Tampa Bay Times

Staff also falsely documented the incident and misrepresented why it happened, according to the report. The health system has taken steps to update procedures and retrain staff in light of the incident, according to the report. 

The findings reported by the Tampa Bay Times are based on a 24-page investigative report produced by the hospital in April. The newspaper obtained a heavily redacted copy under the federal Freedom of Information Act. The investigation, based on interviews with 30 witnesses, said the veteran died and hospice staff asked the transporter to move the patient's body to the morgue. The transporter asked hospice staff to follow protocol and contact dispatchers, which never happened, according to the report. This meant no one came for the patient's body and it was instead moved to a hallway and later a shower room, where it was left unattended. 

The investigation also showed hospice staff did not follow protocol, failed to update charts and blamed staff shortages for the mistake, according to the report. 

Hospital spokesman Jason Dangel told the Tampa Bay Times "strong, appropriate and expeditious" changes have been made to address the issue. "It is our expectation that each veteran is transported to their final resting place in the timely, respectful and honorable manner. America's heroes deserve nothing less," he said, according to the report. 


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