Fly Infestation Causes VA Hospital to Postpone Over 80 Surgeries

A fly infestation at a Los Angeles VA hospital led to closing operating rooms and delaying surgeries. Bug lights are installed to trap the insects as well.

An investigation conducted by the CBS affiliate in Los Angeles found that the West Los Angeles VA hospital has a fly infestation problem that has been going on for years.

In his investigation, reporter David Goldstein said that 83 surgeries were postponed from November 2016 to February 2018. Operating rooms were closed a total of 22 days during that time period because of health risks presented by the presence of the flies.

Goldstein interviewed an insect expert who studies the flies who said that they can carry bacteria which can be spread during surgery. The flies are also attracted to open wounds and can lay their eggs at the wound site.

The VA hospital has installed a series of fly lights around the hospital, some of which are even inside of operating rooms, to trap the flies. More than 200 of the traps were installed around the facility.

The VA said in a statement that it found “zero evidence” of harm to patients because of the flies, but closed the operating rooms as a precaution. The agency also said it is working to ensure the problem does not reoccur, but doctors there said they believe the flies will remain a problem.

One doctor who works at the hospital who Goldstein interviewed said that he was retaliated against by the VA for reporting the fly problem.

“I think there’s a culture that exists within the Veterans Administration that punishes people who are willing to be honest and come forward,” Dr. Christian Head said in his interview with Goldstein.

The full report has additional details and is available in the video above, and a transcript is available on the CBS2 LA website.

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