'We don't seem to be a priority': Veteran posts photos of dirty VA exam room

Posted at 1:01 AM, Apr 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-30 01:01:38-04

SALT LAKE CITY (KSTU/CNN) – An Army veteran in Salt Lake City who says he was placed in an unsanitary exam room is demanding change, saying veterans deserve better.

Veteran Christopher Wilson went to the VA in early April for a procedure to get 18 injections around his ankle, but when he arrived, he was shocked at the condition of the exam room.

"When you think medical, you think sanitary,” Wilson said.

The veteran took pictures of the room, which show a trashcan overflowing with garbage, a sink splattered with casting plaster and a disorganized counter.

"I figured that they would say, ‘Oh, this room is not clean’ and take me somewhere else, but they just kind of blew past it, didn't acknowledge it,” he said.

Dr. Karen Gribbin, the chief of staff at the Salt Lake VA, has apologized to Wilson and is investigating why the room was a mess.

"I was taken aback by the condition of the room. The patient, Mr. Wilson, should not have been placed in the room in that condition,” Gribbin said.

Gribbin calls the incident a rare event but intends to review procedures with staff.

"I do not want another veteran to experience this,” she said.

Wilson believes his experience highlights a problem across the VA.

"I'm sure you could ask 1,000 different veterans, and each one of them will have their own story,” he said. "It's frustrating. I mean, I go to another hospital's emergency room… [and] it's such a different experience. They seem to actually care about getting you the care you need."

The veteran describes the VA system as overwhelmed and without the resources to properly care for the thousands of veterans in the region.

"The people who are there to serve us kind of see us as a hindrance more than anything. We don't seem to be a priority,” Wilson said.

Wilson hopes his photos help bring about change because he wants those who have served the country to get the care they deserve and have earned.

"Hopeful that getting some eyes on it will actually get something done, a little bit of change, but it just feels like I'm beating my head against the wall sometimes with them,” Wilson said. “If you had the choice, would you go there? I wouldn't. I don't like going there."

Copyright 2018 KSTU, Christopher Wilson via CNN. All rights reserved.