After 20-Somethings Die, Army Fires Hospital Chief

Womack Medical Center had been cited for surgical infection control before

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted May 28, 2014 9:45 AM CDT

(Newser) – The US Army fired the commander of the Womack Army Medical Center yesterday, following the deaths of two patients in their 20s over the past 10 days. Both deaths were attributed to lapses in surgical infection control—something inspectors had dinged Womack for in March, the New York Times reports. The Army said it had "lost trust and confidence" in Col. Steven Brewster, who had been scheduled to change command on June 18, the Fayetteville Observer reports.

One 29-year-old mother of three died following a routine tubal ligation. When she returned to the hospital three hours after surgery, she wasn't rushed through triage as protocol dictates, and left after a two-hour wait. She died the next morning. The Army's hospital system isn't related to the embattled Veterans Affairs facilities, but Chuck Hagel yesterday ordered a full review of it, in part because of the scrutiny of the VA. "He wants to make sure that to the degree that we have any similar issues that we are aggressively going after them," the Pentagon press secretary says.

In this May 1, 2014 file photo, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks to reporters at the Pentagon.
In this May 1, 2014 file photo, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks to reporters at the Pentagon.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
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