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VA hospital reassigns its chief of surgery

A spokeswoman says the move is not related to an outbreak of flies at Haley, which canceled some surgeries.

By Abbie Vansickle
Published August 23, 2006

TAMPA - The chief of surgery at the James A. Haley VA Medical Center has been reassigned, a hospital spokeswoman said in a statement Tuesday evening.

Dr. Larry Carey has taken over the duties of Dr. Reginald Peniston after Peniston was switched from the position, said hospital spokeswoman Carolyn Clark.

Clark told a reporter she could not provide any more information Tuesday night, but she did say the reassignment had nothing to do with a recent outbreak of flies at the hospital.

"This action is not related to the fly incident," she said in the statement.

The nation's busiest Veterans Affairs hospital closed its operating suite, canceling some surgeries, after flies were spotted Aug. 15. In a statement released at that time, Clark said nonemergency surgeries had been canceled and rescheduled because of the flies.

Hospital officials said they thought the infestation occurred when spoiled food in someone's locker attracted the flies.

News of the reassignment comes a week before several members of a subcommittee on oversight and investigations of the House Veterans Affairs Committee are scheduled to visit the hospital, located off Bruce B. Downs Boulevard in North Tampa.

Committee members are set to visit the facility Tuesday after a series of problems at the hospital, including recent allegations that staff members failed to ensure cranial implants used in two surgeries had been sterilized.

In February, the Veterans Affairs Department confirmed it was investigating Haley over charges of poor patient care and a questionable contract with the University of South Florida to provide surgeons.


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