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Kirk Voices New Allegations From Hines VA Hospital Staff

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CHICAGO (CBS/AP) – U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk says he’s met with doctors from a suburban Chicago veterans hospital who tell him “boxes and boxes” of echocardiograms went unread for weeks and that some patients died in the interim.

It’s the latest allegation to surface from the Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital to the west of Chicago. It’s one of the VA facilities under scrutiny after allegations first surfaced in Phoenix about efforts to cover up long wait times for patients seeking appointments.

At a news conference in Chicago Friday, Kirk declined to identify the two doctors to protect them from any retaliation.

Alongside Kirk, VA social worker Germaine Clarno told of efforts to intimidate those speaking out.

VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned Friday amid the burgeoning scandal.

Kirk had not called for his resignation and said he’s not sure that alone will help.

“I worry that with just one high-level bureaucrat leaving that we haven’t changed the culture of corruption at the VA,” the senator said.

Asked for comment about problems at Hines, a spokesman forwarded a recent inspector general’s finding that delays in reading echocardiograms dating back to 2011 had been eliminated.

The spokesman also included an email to employees providing direction where they could safely voice any concerns they had.

 

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