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Filthy VA Hospital Photos From Army Vet Go Viral, Prompting Investigation

The photos showed overflowing garbage cans, unsealed medical tools and a white liquid splatted over a sink. 

By Eric Shorey

Viral photos of a filthy VA hospital room has prompted an apology from the facility and a review of the infirmary's policies and procedures.

U.S. Army veteran Christopher Wilson, who served two tours in Iraq, was appalled by the conditions at the Salt Lake City VA. Wilson photographed one room in disarray while at a podiatry appointment April 5, capturing overflowing garbage cans, unsealed medical tools and a white liquid splatted over a sink. 

“I figured they would say, ‘Oh, this room’s not clean,’ and take me somewhere else, but they kind of just blew past it, didn’t acknowledge it,” Wilson told KUTV in Salt Lake City.

Wilson also spoke out against the quality of treatment he received at the Salt Lake City VA.

“The people who are there to serve us, kind of see us as a hinderance more than anything ... It’s frustrating,” Wilson told Fox 13 in Salt Lake City. “I go to another hospital’s emergency room and it’s such a different experience.”

Stephen Wilson, Christopher's father, tweeted the photos of the scene taken by his son, which garnered more than 11,000 likes and 16,000 retweets. 

"My son is a Veteran of the United States Army. He went to the #VA in Salt Lake City yesterday. This was the condition of the room he was seen in. Very unprofessional, unsanitary and disrespectful. Please retweet. Maybe @realDonaldTrump will see it," the elder Wilson tweeted.

An update from Stephen Wilson Saturday clarified that the room in question had been used for "casts for diabetic vets."

"#VA is going to 'review policies'. Says 'sometimes medicine is messy.' Casts for diabetic vets done in this room. Not acceptable conditions for anyone. Just clean up between patients! Garbage on the counter, no place to wash hands, instruments not cleaned. #Yuck," Wilson tweeted.

Dr. Karen Gribbin, the VA Salt Lake City's chief of staff, said she spoke with Wilson and apologized for the incident. She said there will be an investigation.

"Mr. Wilson should not have been placed in the room in that condition," Gribbin told KSL in Salt Lake City. "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."

"I do not believe Mr. Wilson was exposed to any dangerous body fluids or blood," Gribbin added. "But regardless, the room should have been cleaned before he was placed in it ... We will be holding a meeting with staff bright and early Monday morning before clinic starts in that area to review what appears to have happened and make sure that everyone is clear on our expectations."

President Donald Trump has hammered the conditions of VA institutions and had made the welfare of veterans a focal point of his campaign. 

“We need a leader that can bring back our jobs, can bring back our manufacturing, can bring back our military, can take care of our vets. Our vets have been abandoned," he said in a 2015 speech.

Trump's recent nominee to become the new head of the Department of Veteran's Affairs, Ronny Jackson, found himself embroiled in controversy over alleged misconduct. Jackson, who served as Trump and President Barack Obama's White House physician, withdrew from consideration after Sen. John Tester (D-Mont.) raised concerns about Jackson's alleged history of overprescribing pills, drinking on the job, and creating a hostile work environment. Jackson denied the allegations.

[Photo: Twitter @GR8_2B_alive]

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