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Military

More Troubles For Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital

In 2007, the Washington Post ran a series of articles chronicling the despair and neglect among many wounded patients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the US military's flagship hospital. Hospital care for the troops has improved considerably since then, most sources say.

But Walter Reed is still evidently not without its problems.

The Washington Herald reports that the hospital has acknowledged it mishandled two packages of radioactive material in May, possibly exposing staff and patients to elevated radiation levels.

Spokesman Chuck Dasey told the Herald that "Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington doesn't dispute…allegations made' by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), which has 'said the packages sat beneath a lobby counter for nearly two days after they were delivered.'

Dasey, however, also says the hospital "has since reinforced its nuclear medicine safety program and retrained staff on the proper handling of radioactive material.'

In its 'DoD Report," Federal News Radio notes that Walter Reed officials say that to date there are no reports of any illness or adverse effects from the exposure to radioactive material in its lobby last May. Federal News Radio added, 'Officials will meet with NRC staff on Wednesday.'

Meantime, the Washington Post reports that a former government contractor working as an administrative assistant at Walter Reed has been sentenced to one year and one day in jail for stealing $165,477 through phony travel reservations, said Ronald C. Machen Jr., US attorney for the District.

According to the Post, US District Judge Paul L. Friedman sentenced Ronnita N. Dunbar, 29, of Landover Hills for theft of government property and ordered her to repay the medical center. The defendant had pleaded guilty May 4 to misusing her position arranging government travel for doctors and residents at the center's department of surgery from January 2004 until May 2008.

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