Utah VA clinic launches probe after vet's dad tweets about 'unsanitary' room

After the father of a U.S. Army veteran tweeted photographs of what he called “an unsanitary and disrespectful” exam room at a Veterans Affairs clinic in Utah, an administrator said the facility is conducting an investigation, KSL reported.

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Stephen Wilson, whose son Christopher Wilson was being treated for an ankle injury he suffered in Iraq, took photographs at the clinic in Salt Lake City on April 5 and posted them Friday on Twitter.

The tweeted photos show a counter cluttered with medical supplies, an overflowing garbage can and dirty bowls in a sink.

“I figured they would say, 'Oh, this room's not clean' and take me somewhere else, but they just kind of blew past it, didn't acknowledge it,” Christopher Wilson, who spent six years in the Army and was deployed to Iraq twice, told KSL. “They're doctors, right? So I figure one of them was going to say ‘Let's go somewhere else’ or ‘Give us a minute to clean it,’ but nothing.”

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Stephen Wilson’s Twitter post has been retweeted more than 16,000 times and there are more than 2,300 comments.

Dr. Karen Gribbin, chief of staff at the George E. Wahlen Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center, said she “was taken aback by the condition of the room” when she saw the photographs on Twitter.

“Mr. Wilson should not have been placed in the room in that condition,” Gribbin told KSL. “The room should be cleaned, supplies and trash removed, before the next patient is placed in there. We are beginning our investigation into seeing exactly how this happened."

Christopher Wilson said he was in the room to get 18 injections in his ankle and surrounding area. He said the room “felt unsanitary.”

“When you think medical (office), you think sanitary,” Christopher Wilson told KSL. “I've never experienced anything like that.”

Gribbin said the photos of the room indicate "it might have been taken in one of our clinics that does casting procedures for patients." 

"My understanding was that strictly these casts are applied in this room but there (are) not other types of debridement or surgical removal of tissue or anything like that that occurs (in the room), so I do not believe Mr. Wilson was exposed to any dangerous body fluids or blood,” Gribbin told KSL. “But regardless, the room should have been cleaned before he was placed in it.”

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