Some news from the Florida Times-Union-
Jacksonville Naval Hospital officials Wednesday categorically denied a Navy wife's claim that she had been operated on with contaminated instruments.
Jennifer Backman, 35, filed notice of intent on Tuesday to sue the government because she said doctors used unsterilized instruments during outpatient surgery Aug. 30 to repair an umbilical hernia. Federal law requires that anyone suing the U.S. government give six months' notice.
The same day, the hospital's commander, Capt. Raquel Bono, refused to discuss the case, but issued a general statement expressing the hospital's commitment to patient safety.
"Under our procedures, it is inconceivable to use surgical instruments on one patient and then another," said Cmdr. Craig Shepps, the hospital's director of surgical services.
Backman said Tuesday she received a frantic call after her surgery and was told that contaminated instruments were used. She said she was advised by her surgeon to return to the hospital for antibiotic treatments and diagnostic tests.
Contacted Wednesday, Backman's attorney, Sean Cronin, stood by his client's claim. "The family has no reason to doubt the truthfulness of the Navy surgeon," Cronin said.
Bono did confirm that a call was made and Backman was advised to undergo post-operative testing but said she could not say any more about the incident because of patient privacy laws.
Bono said she called the news conference because of her concerns about the effect that media accounts of Backman's lawsuit might have on the hospital's reputation. She was brought in as commander in August 2005 to help make changes at the hospital, which has been sued frequently in recent years.
In the year preceding Backman's surgery, there were about $71 million in settlements and judgments against the hospital.
I don't think Bono's or Cmdr. Shepps statements did anything to improve Jacksonville Naval Hospital's reputation. Their statements are either evasive or not re-assuring.(Inconceivable is not impossible) Rather Bono and Shepps statements combined with the history of settlements made by the hospital call into question any medical care given at this facility.
The Navy and or Congress should investigate this hospital and find out what exactly has been happening there and what needs to be changed in order that those serving in The Navy plus their families get the very best medical care. This country owes them nothing less and right now Jacksonville Naval Hospital isn't doing that.
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