> -----Original Message-----
> From: Victor L Yu [mailto:vly+@pitt.edu]
> Sent: Friday, July 21, 2006 10:37 AM
> To: DeRubertis, Frederick R
> Cc: Jain, Rajiv VAPHS; Moreland, Michael E; janet stout; Hamerschlag, 
> Arthur; Doyle; rfconley@county.allegheny.pa.us; rspanogle@legion.org;
> Santorum; Specter; Specter; Strickland
> Subject: obstacles to completion of Legionella responsibilities (fwd)
> Fred
> You promised the Special Pathogens Lab personnel 14 days to process
> clinical and lab specimens. While you have kept your promise, Moreland 
> and the administration have initiated a series of actions that have
> proven extraordinarily disruptive.  They are now locked out of the lab.
> The security guard is stationed there today ostensibly to prevent the 
> lab personnel from entering.
> Yesterday, a security guard sabotaged Sue Meitzner's cultures on patient
> respiratory samples by refusing her to complete her work . The fact that
> Mr Moreland and his staff walked through the lab before the guard 
> appeared suggests that they ordered the security guard to force her out
> of the lab.
> We insist that two patient specimens be re-processed since they have 
> been ordered by VA physicians for their patients. Unfortunately we need
> the original sputum specimen and those two specimens were taken by
> Cheryl Wanzie.  We also need the microscopes which were removed from the
> lab without our permssion. In addition, there are at least 200
> environmental samples that require processing. The samples are from
> Johns Hopkins University, NY Alice Hyde Hospital, Erie St Vincent 
> Hospital, Bayview Medical Center, SUNY-Buffalo, Phoenix VAMC.  These
> specimens must be performed for humanitarian reasons.
>  I will not accept the suggestion that these specimens be processed in 
> the clinical microbiology lab.  No more disruptions. Let them finish
> their job in the lab that they have worked in for 10 years.
> Finally, let us both agree to assist the laboratory personnel so they 
> can conclude their work. Bureaucratic politics is taking too much of
> their time and yours.
> ===========================================================
>     Dr. Yu,
>       VA security removed me from the building yesterday afternoon 
> without prior notice.  At the time I was attempting to complete lab work
> which included surveying ongoing clinical work and verifying results of
> environmental samples.  I did not realize that I had to be out of the 
> lab by a specific time.  Many of us have been working overtime to make
> the 14 day deadline.  As a symbol of our sense of our responsibility, it
> should be emphasized that all 5 of us were working voluntarily on behalf
> of the VA and its patients.  In fact, we accepted the fact that we would
> not be paid, since we were terminated. It was only in the last few days
> that we were informed we would be compensated for the extra 14 days of 
> work.
>       We understood that Dr Derubertis had given us only 14 days to fulfill
>  our clinical obligations.  During this period, our time has been compromised
>  by numerous interruptions that, in my opinion, bordered on harrassment.
>   For example, in the last couple of days:
>   1.  Dr. Mona Melhem and Cheryl Wanzie from Laboratory Service
> appeared unannounced, with security guards and labor crew, to remove 
> clinical specimens and clinical-specific supplies and equipment. These
> included a -70 freezer and a specimen storage refrigerator.
>   2.  Bacterial stocks and study clinical specimens
> requirereorganization into remaining appropriate storage space due to
> the removal of equipment.
>   3.  On Wednesday and Thursday , at least 14 different individuals
> paraded unannounced through the lab performing walk-throughs.  This 
> included a 5 member labor crew who removed clinical specimens,
> microscopes, all of the diagnostic test kits, and supplies during while
> the lab personnel were trying to conclude their work. When Dr Melhelm 
> came, she was accompanied by 2 security guards.
>   4.  Lab personnel were pressured to attend an interrogation conducted
> by Dr.  Stephen Graham and a court recorder. This occurred in the midst
> of our work on short notice.
>   5.  Since equipment was moved out during the workday, Dr. Singh
> required our assistance to secure her Cryptococcus and liver transplant
> study data and specimens. In addition, time was spent last week shipping
> recent study specimens to her collaborators.  She had already informed
> us and Dr Melhelm that her isolates were not to be moved until after
> closing of the lab, so she could insure safety of the isolates. 
>   6.  Similarly, Dr. Muder's study coordinator required our assistance
> to secure his muropiricin study isolates that were being collected and
> frozen.  During the stress and general chaos in the lab, a box of frozen
> isolates was regrettably left at room temperature. The reason that the
> isolates were not in the freeer was because the movers also came in
> unannouced and took 1 hour to move the freezer out of the lab.  So, 
> samples had to be moved out of the freezer. The viability of these
> isolates will need to be determined.
>   7.  The doors at the ends of the hall were locked and our card keys
> were inactivated.  We could not re-enter the building if we left during
> the day.
>   My removal from the facility, in combination with denied access for
> other Special Pathogen Laboratory personnel, will not allow us to
> complete clinical respiratory cultures that were processed this week. 
> Also, some environmental specimens suggest the possibility of legionella
> and this must be verified.
>   Finally, the VA security guard prevented me from removing my personal
> properties such as family photos, professional books/accumulated 
> reference materials, paycheck stubs, etc. Are these measures really
> necessary?
> Please let me know how to proceed.
>           Sue