Manchester — The new acting secretary of Veterans Affairs said on Tuesday that New Hampshire’s only veterans hospital has been rebuilt “both physically and emotionally” since whistleblowers went public with allegations of substandard conditions and care.
Peter O’Rourke was named acting secretary last week while President Donald Trump’s nominee, Robert Wilkie, awaits confirmation as permanent secretary. On Tuesday, he toured the VA medical center in Manchester, where a burst pipe last July caused severe flooding. It came just days after The Boston Globe published whistleblower complaints about a fly-infested operating room, surgical instruments that weren’t always sterilized and patients whose conditions were ignored or weren’t treated properly. The complaints also accused administrators of essentially dismantling the hospital’s cardiology and surgical programs.
O’Rourke served as head of the VA’s accountability and whistleblower protection office at the time, and said that much has improved since then.
“Having had the benefit of being here both at the beginning of the crisis and at the end, it’s been wonderful to see the changes this team has made,” he said. “They’ve rebuilt this place both physically and emotionally, and it’s been great to see what’s transpired over the last 10 months.”
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