VA secretary: Albuquerque staff acted properly

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloan Gibson says staffers at Albuquerque's VA hospital responded properly when a veteran died after collapsing in the medical center's cafeteria.

Hospital staff faced scrutiny after the death of 71-year-old Jim Napoleon Garcia, who received CPR on the floor while an ambulance was called to take him to an emergency room 500 yards away.

Gibson said Thursday that an initial review found staffers followed procedure, but he noted the department is reviewing the case to see whether systemwide changes are needed.

The review comes as Gibson's department deals with a national outcry over reports of long delays for treatment and medical appointments and of veterans dying while on waiting lists.

To that, Gibson said the department is negotiating with an outside contractor to audit wait times.

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