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National Naval Medical Center looking into Rep. Murtha's surgery and death

Updated 8:41 p.m.
By Carol D. Leonnig
The National Naval Medical Center is conducting an inquiry into Rep. John Murtha's surgery at their Bethesda medical facility and his subsequent death, a Navy spokesman said Wednesday.

Murtha (D-Pa.) had gallbladder surgery performed at the well-regarded Navy hospital in late January, and according to friends, suffered an infection from an accidental "nick" of his intestines during the surgery. He was readmitted to intensive care at an Arlington hospital and died there Feb. 8.

Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), a longtime friend who sat on the Appropriations Committee with Murtha, said last week that he was personally going to look into what had happened. Dicks complained that a routine gallbladder surgery should not end in death, except in rare cases.

Murtha, 77, was the powerful chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that controls Pentagon funding, and also steered considerable funding to military medical research. Murtha's funeral was held in his home town of Johnstown Tuesday, an event attended by Cabinet members, the House speaker and former president Bill Clinton.

"They are conducting a quality assurance review of this care that was provided," said Cmdr. Danny Hernandez, a Navy spokesman. "This will be a multi-level process which includes a mortality and morbidity conference. It will include a quality assurance investigation by an uninvolved subject matter expert. It will also be a review by a multi-disciplinary patient safety committee and consultation with Navy medicine and outside experts."

Hernandez said that such a review is standard in cases when a surgery patient dies after suffering surgery complications.

CNN first reported that sources indicated a hospital inquiry would be opened.

By Carol D. Leonnig  |  February 17, 2010; 6:51 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , Capitol Briefing , Cast of Characters  
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Comments

The whole facility needs to be investigated.....The level of care is marginal at best.

Posted by: rocky8589 | February 18, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Wow, you people are really scary. This article was about a medical complication, not politics. Some people will stop at nothing to get in their vicious political digs. Grow up,people; where is your basic human decency? (never mind; I already know.)

Posted by: bhrgarden1 | February 18, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Soo if this had happen to Average American Joe in a state with so called tort reform the family would be left high and dry and the doctor would keep on botching operations.

Posted by: knjincvc | February 18, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Wait, this could mean more money for his district.

Posted by: steveiev | February 18, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

another BS effort by political fools to get their name up front. bethesda navy hospital has been a haven for every politician to get the best medical care available. originally it was for military but the criminals fund it and use it,then complain. this guy was privilaged to get care not available to most active duty or retired who were promised care for life,then the politicians changed that with a BS replacement. screw the military has been the name of the game,until they are politically useful again.

Posted by: pofinpa | February 18, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

TO: "Anne12 @ 3:06 p.m.:

I believe you have misinterpreted my comment. It is not an "Obama Gestapo" -- it's a Bush-Cheney Gestapo that has been permitted to continue under a naive or misinformed Obama.

Your intolerance for freedom of speech gives hint of your mission here. Perhaps you'd be interested in this:

http://nowpublic.com/world/how-u-s-spy-ops-censor-web-political-speech

Have a nice day, "Anne."

Posted by: scrivener50 | February 18, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

To the Post:

It is shameless and disgusting that you allow comments under this article. Just read the comments. Most of them defy your own etiquette.

From "the surgeon deserves a medal" to "Obama Gestapo" the whole hateful loony right wing uses your comment sections for spewing bile and preaching hate. When that is done under an article about the obviously avoidable death of Jack Murtha, you should be ashamed for offering a podium for anomymous bigots and racists.

Posted by: Anne12 | February 18, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

To the Post:

It is shameless and disgusting that you allow comments under this article. Just read the comments. Most of them defy your own etiquette.

From "the surgeon deserves a medal" to "Obama Gestapo" the whole hateful loony right wing uses your comment sections for spewing bile and preaching hate. When that is done under an article about the obviously avoidable death of Jack Murtha, you should be ashamed for offering a podium for anomymous bigots and racists.

Posted by: Anne12 | February 18, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

..."I agree...this shouldn't have happened, and as a registered Voter/Vet USAF, I'd like to know why it did...

Posted by: ztcb41 | February 18, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Could Murtha's death have resulted from corrupted health care personnel with a hidden agenda -- an affiliation with federally-funded "anti-terrorism" groups whose members may include political extremists and covert operatives?

NOW IT'S OBAMA'S GESTAPO USA. WHEN WILL TEAM OBAMA ACT?

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america

OR NowPublic.com/scrivener (see "stories" list)

Posted by: scrivener50 | February 18, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

They ought to pin a medal on the surgeon's chest.

Posted by: vigilante1 | February 18, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Andy Warhol died shortly after the same surgery, the same way.

Posted by: hogsmile | February 18, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

"Dicks complained that a routine gallbladder surgery should not end in death, except in rare cases."

Uhh...isn't this just one of those "rare cases"?

Posted by: wrigleywrat | February 18, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

ALSO, WHEN DID DICK'S BECOME AN EXPERT IN THE ""MEDICAL FIELD"". MURTHA WAS A LOSER.

Posted by: otisplumber | February 18, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

WHY ARE THEY CHECKING ON THE HOSPITAL OR THE PROCEDURES. THINK ALL OF YOU MORONS. MAYBE IT WAS SENT FROM A ""HIGHER AUTHORITY"".

Posted by: otisplumber | February 18, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Another one bites the dust. Maybe it was due to bad kharma or his failure to follow the ten commandments.

When Congress fails to police their own corrupt members it takes a Navy surgeon to do the job. The King of Pork infected the House of Representatives, so it is only fitting he died from infection.

Posted by: alance | February 18, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

In my opinion, Rep. Murtha had outlived his usefulness and was only a party lackey especially after his record of calling fellow Marines guilty before a trial and his use of earmarks.

Posted by: maldelus | February 18, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Nicks can happen at any hospital. We like to believe that medicine is foolproof, or at least that it would be if it weren't for those damn doctors. If there's a mistake, we sue. And then call for lower insurance premiums, lower hospital costs, and without healthcare reform. Sure, doctors should be held accountable for avoidable errors, but errors will always happen.

Posted by: Sutter | February 18, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Cadillac announces a recall of it'e health care.

Posted by: whocares666 | February 18, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

I thought 'accidents, nicks, etc.' only happened in Russia and China, or to third world countries. Hmmmmm. My, my!! Who would have thought...!
Bush couldn't have had anything to do with this: he's too dumb! Orrrrrrr, maybe Cheney... nah, a gun wasn't involved. You can bet there's a Republican in the woodpile though, lolol.

Posted by: dakotahgeo | February 18, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Bethesda is the POTUS's and Congress's Hospital.

"Nicks"?

"Nicks" don't happen there!

Posted by: Concerned14 | February 18, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure it was Bush's fault.

Posted by: silencedogoodreturns | February 18, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Hey dlpetersdc! Read the article. "The National Naval Medical Center is conducting an inquiry into Rep. John Murtha's surgery at their Bethesda medical facility"

Posted by: ronjaboy | February 18, 2010 7:17 AM | Report abuse

why is it only Democrats die mysteriously...

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | February 18, 2010 3:11 AM | Report abuse

IS THIS ONE OF THE 11 OR SO PROCEDURES ON THE 'NEVER HAPPEN' LIST.

THE LIST IS NOT ABOUT STANDARDS OF CARE -- JUST ABOUT EVENTS THAT SHOULD 'NEVER HAPPEN' IN A HOSPITAL OR MEDICAL FACILITY.

Posted by: brucerealtor@gmail.com | February 18, 2010 1:50 AM | Report abuse

The mistake the Congressman made was going to Virginia Hospital Center. I had tests there twice and would never go back again. The place was disorderly and not very clean, in my view.

Posted by: dlpetersdc | February 17, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Possible is the perforation's having released bacteria resistant to every available anti-biotic. Again and again reports reach my ears of deaths from infections after "minor" operations. If you believe the issue is solely the doctors and nurses, think again. Jim Henson was the canary.

Posted by: Martial | February 17, 2010 11:10 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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