Tags: Veterans | Veterans | Decompose | Dead | Illinois | Morgue

Dead Veterans Left to 'Decompose' in Illinois VA Morgue for Weeks

Image: Dead Veterans Left to 'Decompose' in Illinois VA Morgue for Weeks

(AP Images)

By    |   Friday, 30 Sep 2016 02:20 PM

An Illinois Veterans Affairs hospital left the bodies of dead patients in the morgue for up to two months without a burial, Fox News reports.

An unnamed whistleblower complained to the VA inspector general that Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital was mishandling the remains of veterans that were not claimed by their family, leaving them in the morgue and allowing them to decompose.

The complaint charges that Christopher Wirtjes, head of Patient Administrative Services, "has the funds available, yet has no sense of urgency to lay the veteran to rest."

The office of Sen. Mark Kirk received the complaint as well. He told Fox News that "Hines VA — the hospital that has been overrun with cockroaches and mold and left vets waiting for care for months on secret wait lists, has reached a new low in the treatment of our veterans. We now have reports of bodies being left to decompose in the morgue for months on end."

According to internal emails obtained by CBS2 in Chicago, at least two vets were left in the morgue for 30 days this summer, which eventually decomposed.

"The VA should be sickened and embarrassed by yet another exposed case of corruption and mistreatment of our veterans at Hines," Kirk said, according to CBS. "I have personally called Secretary McDonald and asked him to fire Christopher Wirtjes, the Chief responsible for this shameful treatment of our veterans’ remains. Bureaucrats at Hines should spend as much time helping veterans as they do covering up neglect and abuse."

Rick Fox, a spokesman for the hospital, disputed the charges in a statement to Fox News, arguing that Hines followed the law:

"We take whistleblower allegations very seriously and absolutely agree that all of our veterans deserve dignity and respect, in life and in death. While our investigation into this matter is still ongoing, we have found allegations related to consistent problems with dignified and timely burials to be unsubstantiated.

"However, we have taken this opportunity to review our policies and procedures and are currently working to improve them."

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An Illinois Veterans Affairs hospital left the bodies of dead patients in the morgue for up to two months without a burial, Fox News reports.
Veterans, Decompose, Dead, Illinois, Morgue
341
2016-20-30
Friday, 30 Sep 2016 02:20 PM
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