Massive Negligence Leading to 3 Deaths at DC Research Facility Leads to Fine by USDA; Watchdog: 'What Else Could They Have Done Wrong?'

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Contact: Michael Budkie, SAEN, 513-703-9865 [email protected]
Massive Negligence Leading to 3 Deaths at DC Research Facility Leads to Fine by USDA;  Watchdog: 'What Else Could They Have Done Wrong?'
WASHINGTON, DC – Massive negligence at MedStar Medical Research Institute at the Washington Hospital Center here has been found to be the cause of at least three animal deaths and a $3,071 federal fine, according to documents being released Wednesday by a national research watchdog organization.
SAEN, a nonprofit research watchdog group which monitors how animals are treated in the nation's research laboratories, said it filed an official complaint with the USDA, which led to the action by the USDA.
SAEN said federal research oversight agency reports reveal that staff at MedStar allowed three pigs to die in two separate incidents in November 2013. Equipment that could have saved their lives didn't work, and a medication that also could have save them had expired.
According to the federal documents, the USDA, in a letter to the facility, said: "During an experimental procedure,(the pigs) experienced ventricular fibrillation and required resuscitation. Both the primary defibrillator and back-up defibrillator were inoperable. Additionally, the emergency medication, epinephrine, was available but expired and therefore not usable."
In its complaint letter to the USDA urging fines and other discipline, Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T., Executive Director, SAEN, said:   "It is clear that the staff of this lab, according to the inspection report of the USDA, is negligent and incompetent.  Before performing this procedure not only did they not check the defibrillation equipment to insure it was functional, but they also failed to check to insure the epinephrine was usable for resuscitation. 
"As if that wasn’t enough, after one animal death from these causes, they failed to report the situation to either the Principal Investigator or the Attending Veterinarian.  What else could they have done wrong? The treatment of animals at this facility illustrates attitudes of carelessness and negligence that must be punished so that meaningful changes can be made."
All federal documents are available upon request.

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