The Department of Veterans Affairs can’t seem to keep up with the burden of their heavy workload. They’ve taken flack for administrative corruption, long wait times, and even negligent responses to suicidal soldiers seeking assistance.
The latest scandal to break paints another bleak picture. A whistle-blower at an Illinois VA hospital has leaked news that bodies of dead veterans have been left unclaimed in the morgue for up to two months.
Complaints were lodged with the VA’s inspector general last month about the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital’s handling of cadavers. In some cases, veterans’ families had not claimed the bodies. The complaint names Christopher Wirtjes, chief of Patient Administrative Services. “The Chief of PAS has the funds available,” the complaint reads, “yet has no sense of urgency to lay the veteran to rest.”
Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., has called for Wirtjes to be fired.
“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,” Kirk said in an interview with Fox. “We now have reports of bodies being left to decompose in the morgue for months on end.”
“Some veteran’s remains have been left in our hospital morgue for 45 days or more until they are stacked to capacity at times,” reads the complaint.
The level of decay was so pronounced that at least one of the bodies had liquefied. When the staff tried to remove it, the body-bag burst.