Memphis VA cited for improperly disposing of human tissue - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis VA cited for improperly disposing of human tissue

Memphis VA (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5) Memphis VA (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
Memphis VA hospital cited for serious violations by OSHA (SOURCE: OSHA) Memphis VA hospital cited for serious violations by OSHA (SOURCE: OSHA)

The Veterans Administration (VA) hospital in Memphis has been stamped with five serious violations from Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The notice of unsafe conditions by the U.S. Department of Labor and OSHA addressed to the Memphis VA addresses violations dating back to March, including improperly disposing of human tissue after a surgical procedure done on or around March 15.

The notice said the hospital has received five serious violations from the incident, some that must be appealed or corrected as early as June 7.

The hospital was informed about the violations on May 6.

"There was brown waters that contained solid materials that was identified as human tissue," OSHA Area Director Bill Cochran said. 
The five violations include everything from improperly labeling a container with infectious material, not training employees who deal with the medical waste, and not making the Hepatitis B vaccine available to employees.

"Employees could contract infectious disease such as Hepatitis, AIDS virus, among others," Cochran said.

OSHA said in the past two years the Memphis VA has been cited multiple times for unsafe and unhealthy working conditions.

However, some veterans said it doesn't surprise them that Memphis VA has been cited by OSHA.

"The nature of the violation, yes, but that it happened there, no it did not take me by surprise," Scott Baldwin said.

Baldwin lives in Jackson and is an Army veteran. He said he's experienced long wait times and a loss of medical records at the facility.

The VA hospital released a statement that reads:

On May 6, 2016 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a report to a complainant. An unannounced visit occurred on March 29, 2016. As a result of the inspection, a notice of unsafe or unhealthful working conditions was issued to the Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center in Memphis, Tennessee.  The inspection revealed five violations that included training of staff for occupational exposure, proper handling and disposing of an unknown material, and the removal of an unknown material from a drainage pipe.  A need for additional training was identified for engineering and plumbing staff on proper handling,Personal Protective Equipment, and possible risks during collection and removal of unknown materials.  The training was conducted by the facility’s Green Environmental Management Coordinator, Safety Officer, and Infection Control Nurse.  The drainage pipe was successfully cleared.  Blockage in the pipe was caused by pipe scale and there was no tissue found in the pipe.  There is no reported adverse impact to any employee or Veteran. There has not been a definitive determination of the unknown material which was disposed of in accordance with the medical center’s hazardous waste policy.  The Memphis VA Medical Center prides itself on compassionate, people-centered care from all areas of our facility which includes all staff.

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