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In an investigation made public yesterday, officials at Tampa’s James A. Haley VA Medical Center disclosed that two cranial implants were not properly sterilized prior to surgery. This is a very serious failure on the part of the hospital and calls into question the basic care patients at the facility are likely to receive. When a patient enters a hospital, especially when facing the uncertainty of a surgical procedure, that same patient should be able to trust that basic care will be afforded him or her. Failure to sterilize medical equipment or medical devices is an unconscionable error that can’t be tolerated in any medical facility. Fortunately, in this instance, patients were not permanently harmed. The Tampa VA hospital is one of the busiest facilities in the country. Further errors can not continue. Corrections in the hospital’s standard of care and its operating procedures must be undertaken immediately.

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