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Salt Lake City VA chief of staff responds to reports of messy, unsanitary room conditions

Posted at 6:29 PM, Apr 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-30 21:38:13-04

SALT LAKE CITY - On Monday afternoon the Salt Lake City VA Chief of Staff Karen Gribbin, M.D., apologized for the condition of a veteran’s room that was reported across local and national media this weekend.

U.S. Army veteran Christopher Wilson served two tours in Iraq and was in the Army for six years. He had a podiatrist appointment on April 5th, 2018 at the VA in Salt Lake City.

After waiting for 45 minutes to see a doctor, Wilson said he was taken to a filthy room where he was expected to be treated.

Wilson took photos of the room and shared them on Twitter.

The room’s counter was covered in trash and used tools. The trash was overflowing with equipment and plaster from casting material.

“It was an abhorrent situation,” said Gribbin. “In the six years that I have been here at the Salt Lake City VA, I have never had a patient complain about the condition of his room. I absolutely believe this was an abhorrent situation.”

Gribbin said their staff was reviewing the situation and would be updating its procedures.

“We just reviewed and emphasized that we always have to look at our environment [in] the eyes of the veteran,” said Gribbin.

Gribbin also said in the patient survey that is given out to patients at the end of their visit, the VA consistently receives a 90 percent on its cleanliness category.

"Researchers found that the VA generally delivered care that was better or equal in quality to other healthcare systems although there were some exceptions…” a 2016 national study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine said.

Wilson said he wants veterans to have more options for their healthcare besides the VA.