Documents show that the notorious Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) doctor implicated in numerous botched animal surgeries killed yet another dog in 2016 after slicing into the dog’s chest.
These internal VA documents, the taxpayer watchdog group White Coat Waste Project obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request and provided to The Daily Caller News Foundation, show that Dr. Alex Tan at the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA center performed a fatal left thoracotomy surgery on a dog on March 17, 2016.
When the issue of botched animal surgeries first came to light in March, reports showed that Tan had engaged in at least three poorly performed surgeries on dogs from December 2015 to October 2016 and was subsequently banned from certain types of animal surgeries.
This thoracotomy surgery on March 17, 2016, which now marks the fourth known surgery gone wrong under Tan, failed miserably. The surgery was intended for “placement of pacemaker devices.”
The April 7 incident report of the surgery states that during the operation, when a lead was being moved into the heart, the dog suffered a spontaneous ventricular fibrillation, that is, serious heart rhythm disturbance.
As the report subsequently notes: “There were several attempts to stabilize the animal with internal defibrillator paddles, however they were all unsuccessful.”
The investigator admitted that the possibility of ventricular fibrillation was definitely present as part of the surgical procedure, but as the report notes, this risk “had not been adequately detailed in the ACORP.”
The “ACORP” stands for Animal Component of Research Protocol.
In an after-action report, the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee unanimously decided that Tan was in serious noncompliance with surgical policies and stated that “any future serious violations may result in full suspension or termination of your animal protocol at the VA.”
TheDCNF reported in March that Tan is still listed as an active physician, despite being banned from various animal surgeries, and 8News later reported that Tan continues to perform surgeries on veterans at the hospital.
After Florida Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan, who chairs the House Animal Protection Caucus, called for an investigation into the animal surgeries, the VA inspector general opened a file on the matter in April.
Tan did not respond to a request for comment from TheDCNF.
A VA spokesperson sent TheDCNF the exact same statement it issued in March, namely that “VA animal research is strictly controlled and monitored with accountability mechanisms in place that comply with the same regulations and standards that university programs, state, private, and military organizations employ. As part of that commitment, VA takes seriously any reports of not adhering to standards and will immediately review and correct processes if and when those issues arise.”
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