Flu spike causes delays at John Cochran VA Medical Center

Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 7:03 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- Jamie Huddleston is a Navy veteran who was scheduled to undergo a colonoscopy on Tuesday at the John Cochran VA Medical Center in Midtown. When he got to the hospital, it was determined that he’d developed a problem with his heart.

“One side of the heart wasn’t working with the other. So they couldn’t do the procedure at the moment,” he said.

Huddleston said doctors told him he was experiencing atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat that often includes a very rapid heart rhythm. Sometimes it can resolve itself but can also lead to blood clots in the heart, stroke and heart failure.

Huddleston was sent to the emergency room to be admitted because of his heart condition. But he said he was forced to wait over 12 hours before he was admitted.

“You’re just a number down there,” said Huddleston.

News 4 reached out the the VA to ask what might be causing delays. Marcena Gunter with the public affairs office for the VA St. Louis Health Care System said the VA is committed to the highest quality, timely care. She released this statement that references a spike in flu cases this week:

“Earlier this week we experienced an increased number of patients admitted with Influenza, however not higher than historical numbers of admissions for Influenza epidemic periods. This caused a short-term increased strain on our systems as we called in additional staff to assist in caring for these patients.”

Gunter said she couldn’t discuss specifics about a patient’s care because of privacy laws but that a review was being conducted of the care provided to Huddleston.