News and Commentary

The VA Hospital In L.A. Has Cancelled 83 Surgeries Due To A Fly Infestation In Operating Rooms

The Department of Veteran Affairs isn’t just in need of more doctors, nurses, and medical personnel. Someone over there needs to call an exterminator — right now.

The best example of U.K.-style, government-run healthcare on this side of the pond has humiliated itself again, as CBS Los Angeles investigative reporter David Goldstein revealed Tuesday. Goldstein reported that the VA West Los Angeles Medical Center has cancelled or postponed dozens of surgeries due to a fly infestation. That’s right: a fly infestation in a hospital.

From November 2016 to this February, operating rooms were closed for 22 days, which led to 83 cancelled or delayed surgeries.

Goldstein’s secret cameras inside the hospital showed that what may look like green decorative lights in the halls and operating rooms are actually fly traps. He said there are more than 200 such fly traps throughout the facility.

Brian Brown, curator of entomology at the LA Museum of Natural History, said the Phorid flies “are attracted to open wounds for the fluids that they need to sustain themselves and also to keep from drying out.

“They could also lay eggs on the open wounds,” Brown said.

Dr. Christian Head, a head and neck surgeon at the VA West Los Angeles Medical Center, told Goldstein that some of the veterans whose surgeries have been cancelled “may have been waiting four, five weeks, or sometimes longer.”

“This is a continuation of delayed care for veterans,” he said. “I don’t believe there’s any hospital in this country that would find it acceptable to have flies on a routine basis.”

Well, there’s at least one.