VA Hospital Water Leak Update: Liquid Dripped Into Open Wounds During Surgery, Says Source

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We're still waiting on public records to shed more light on the disturbing news that backed-up toilet water dripped from the ceilings as surgeries took place at the Phoenix VA hospital.

(See our original piece from last week, reported nowhere else, in which officials at the hospital admitted to the problem.)

The spokeswoman at the Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center, Paula Pedene, wasn't able to tell us last week if one particularly disgusting part of the allegation was true: That the leaking water dripped directly into the surgical wounds of patients. We still haven't heard back from her on that question.

Today, though, we received an e-mail from someone who seems to know more about the situation. Here's a highlight:

Dr Bourdages was doing an open cholecystectomy when "clean" sewage water dripped from the ceiling into the patients open abdomen.

Similarly, our vascular surgeon experienced the same on a patient during a AVF revision. Both copiously irrigated the surgical field with antibiotic irrigation, and full disclosure was made to the patients and their family.

As Pedene told us last week, the liquid started out as "clean" backed-up toilet water -- it wasn't raw sewage.

Obviously, though, by the time that water dripped through the floors and ceilings, it was nothing like clean.

The e-mail's author, like the writer of the letter about the problem last week, chose to stay anonymous. We can't tell you if both the letter and e-mail were written by the same person. But since much of the first anonymous complaint to us was verified by VA officials, we feel comfortable reporting these unverified, yet wholly believable, details. As mentioned, we've put in a public records request and expect to find out more.

The e-mail writer claims water dripped in surgery rooms a total four times, not two.

As we previously reported, the VA says the problem was fixed.

But the anonymous whistleblower wants New Times to know about other, broader concerns about the surgical team at the VA. We'll keep those allegations to ourself until we do some more investigatin'.

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