Albuquerque Veteran dies waiting for ambulance....while at the VA

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Albuquerque Veteran dies waiting for ambulance....while at the VA

This is from about a week ago, but I never got a chance to post it.  Feast your eyes on lethal ineptitude:

From KTSM:

Imagine you're at a hospital, eating lunch and you collapse.

Instead of doctors rushing to your aid, you wait 30 minutes for an ambulance to drive you around the building to the emergency room.

That scenario became reality for one veteran in Albuquerque Monday.

According to officials at the VA, a patient collapsed in the cafeteria Monday.Witnesses say he looked like he was having a heart attack. So, staff in the cafeteria followed the rules in place.

It was 500 yards.  When you hear about the man too, the anguish for friends and family is clear.  From KOAT News:

Mind you all of this came after the audit, and KOAT at that time (again, prior to this death) had this report:

You know, I really wish I had something to add here, but the videos speak for themselves.  It just baffles me.

Posted in the burner | 47 comments
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It is sad to read about the patient dying awaiting an ambulance. In this instance, while unfortunate, I believe that VA's policy was sound. One may be able to walk quickly from the ER to the other side of the hospital, but to leave the ER, walk over and get the patient and get him back to the ER where he could be hooked up to diagnostic equipment would have been over 20 minutes, that is if doctors on duty were not already involved in caring for other critical patients. When one calls 911, they are not calling for an ambulance to transport someone; they are calling for paramedics to evaluate someone in a critical episode. Taking a half hour for paramedics to arrive is really excessive, they should have arrived and started care within in the standard 5-8 minutes. My only negative comment would be that one would presume that in a hospital cafeteria, that there would be medically trained staff eating or taking a coffee break. One would think that someone would have started CPR, unless there are liability issues not protecting the assistance giver from personal liability.

You are obviously not a patient out at VA here in ABQ.or you are an expert in drivel. There is no time for a finger bowl, politeness or a howdy-do when a vet hits the floor in the middle of a heart attack, ask me, I'm a triple by-pass recipient and being treated out at Murphy VA and I can tell many stories about the unhurried operation of the establishment. You can forget the ER too, it's a nightmare of a wilderness where you're stuffed into a jam packed phone booth sized room where you sit and wait for the med staff to finish their coffee.
I'm not saying that all the med staff is guilty, there are many good ones, but there is a trend throughout that hospital that needs some explaining right down to the campus police unit, who is an interfering bunch at times, mostly in the parking lots.
Now the question: "Who in the hell want's your defense of the event versus the Vet who went down in trouble and died? It's time the whole damn mess at our Vet hospitals gets cleaned up.
By the way, I asked long ago about the "Death Squad Mentality" and got nothing but evasive double talk for the past four and a half years.
Another "by the way" is: who the Hell gives a crap about liabilities when he's laying on the floor suffering through the pain of a heart attack?

While, yes, this is ridiculous, it is not just VA hospital policy, but hospitals in general. By no means am I defending the VA (had quite a few delays in care myself, 7 years for 4 surgeries in the same location and still not fixed or better) but my wife worked for a liver doctor at Baylor in Dallas. In this scenario, they had to call 911 and wait for the paramedics; they were 100-200 feet from the ER and in a Specialist Office (who at least one of the seven doctors better know basic life saving techniques).

Now it did not take the Ambulance 30 minutes to get there (like maybe 8) but the VA may not of had one there at the time and had to wait for the nearest Fire Station or Hospital. So actually, it is the dispatchers and the Ambulance crew's fault for taking so long. Dispatcher for maybe not relaying the emergency correctly or the crew for not using a since of urgency. Alb is big. Been there once. so Everything is close by and they had no excuse to be that late. Now for the VA, they could have gotten a doctor somewhere (there better be at least one there out of the hundreds they have) to perform BASIC lifesaving techniques like CPR. But again, this policy is wide spread and not limited to VA hospitals, but hospitals in general.

I'm sure somewhere has it to if you are having a heart attack 10 ft from the ER, that they have to call an ambulance to check you out before inching to the ER. This does, however, need to be changed system wide with a common sense policy instead of something as ridiculous as these policies.

I say Mr. Jensen that you are unbelievable at a minimum and a total idiot at best. You can bet the farm that if this type incident occurred in a civilian health facility he would have been placed on a gurney or at a minimum in a wheel chair and rushed with all dispatch TO the emergency room for treatment. Most who work for the government will only "follow the wriiten rules" and show NO initiative period.

I believe even medically trained staff are covered by the Good Samaritan Act if not in their facility in their immediate work area.

This is absolutely unacceptable. The VA needs a completer overhaul from the top to the bottom. All the doctors and nurses that were in the cafeteria need to be FIRED!!!!!!

I KNOW without any doubt having gone to the VA for over 30years the attitudes of many workers and doctors is so HAUGHTY and DISRESPECTFUL at times, I am SURE this was INTENTIONALLY ignored as retaliation.. I was just at the VA yesterday and that is lingering in the air like an elephant. THERE IS ALWAYS A NURSE PRACTIONER OR DOCTOR IN THE HALWAYS OR THE CAFETERIA. I BELIEVE "code blue" comes over the loudspeakers in the whole VA and the location is automatically identified. They are trained for this and I have seen it in action many, many, many times in 30 years..YES THEY ALWAYS CAME before this spotlight on them..

I too received good care and attention back in the 90's at the Albuquerque VA hospital... but it wasn't an emergency situation...

While I was In Albuquerque I went to the Va Clinic with chest pains.They took me right back to be seen.But this was like 7 to 8 years ago.I was kept over night for observation.At that time all the doctors and nurses were polite and concerned and gave prompt care.But like the gentleman said in his statement I'm sure there was Dr's and nurses in the cafeteria that could have taken prompt action to prevent the deat of our veteran.

The VA does not need to be reformed. It needs to be Shut Down. Give all eligible Veterans Blue Cross or United Health Care coverage and let them go where ever they need. It would cost the Country magnitudes less than running these bureaucratic nightmares

I worked at a number of different businesses that had assigned first responders ready to administer first aid, utilizing equipment purchased by the company. And that this did not happen in the café is criminal.

I wondered about "first responder" when I first read this story. Surely somebody in the room knew CPR. As a retired RN, I can testify that most places where I have worked, CPR certification was a requirement, not optional. Particularly medical institutions.

Recently got a leter from the VA telling me all about their fabulous system. Unbenownst to me apparently I am eligible due to my service both in the Army and the Air Force. All I can say is no thanks. My wife and I signed up under the ACA for Blue Cross... I am not about to que up in a long line to be handled as a statistic not a person by a group of uncaring and incompetents. All I ever hear is bad. Checking into it the nearest facility for me is over 30 miles away... No thanks... If the want to treat me then give me a voucher so I can see local physicians and local hospitol care rather than havin to carava my butt around and wait in endless ques and extended lists that serve only to perpetuate the incompetency and let underserving keep jobs they should never have ben given.

Die in a cafeteria in a hospital? The manager of that hospital should have a 100% manadatory meeting a chew out every living soul who was present in that building for the incompetency they all exhibited as well as the stain they put onto so many... Those that object should be fired.

I know the situation stinks many other places, but I am lucky enough to have had my following letter to the editor of the Miami Herald published a month ago:

With all the news about the problems plaguing the Department of Veterans Affairs ("VA") medical centers in other areas of America, I am prompted to express my grateful appreciation for the prompt, caring and professional treatment I receive at Miami's VA Medical Center. As an Army veteran with a service-connected disability, I receive all my medical treatment from the VA. Any time I ask for an appointment from my general practitioner or a specialist, I am accommodated quickly and efficiently. When I arrive for treatment, I usually am seen within a few minutes of the scheduled appointment time, and sometimes even before that time if I arrive early. Sometimes a medical condition requires me to seek treatment without an appointment and the caring professionals work me in without fail. Miami's VA may be an anomaly, but all the veterans I know who are patients of our local medical center are highly satisfied with the quality and timeliness of the care we receive there.

I have absolutely no doubt that certain elements of the VA system are in dire need of a complete overhaul. Unfortunately the good often gets lumped in with the bad, as bad news always travels faster than good news. I have nothing but praise for the VA Medical Facility at Mather in Rancho Cordova, CA. Without exception each time I go there for anything, the treatment is the same. There's a guy with a New Jersey (?) accent who is generally the intake guy. Friendly, outgoing, caring and a fun person to listen to. You are seen promptly within five to fifteen minutes after your appointment time. The waiting room for blood work is usually crowded, but it moves swiftly and you are on your way quickly. Every VA employee I talk to there thanks me for my service and it's not just a company line - they really mean it. The whole place is quality from top to bottom.

It is pretty damn sad when a veteran dies in a VETERAN HOSPITAL because the medical staff there cannot be bothered to respond across the facility to a person in a critical medical emergency. Last time I checked those crash carts they use in for cardiac emergencies had WHEELS on them. They really are expected to call an ambulance to respond from miles away when trained medical staff are within a 90 second response time? To be brought to the ER of the same hospital he is already at? Unbelievable.

Well that is the respect shown for the men and women who gave so much of themselves to their country. Asinine policies, complacent attitudes or just plain old neglect rules in the VA health care system. How ironic that someone in an underground illegal immigrant hospital has a better quality of care afforded to them than the veterans in the very facility set aside for their needs.

This episode suggests an utter failure of common sense. When someone's life is on the line it is not time to invoke "policy." It is time to provide useful and effective assistance to the extent possible. Somebody could have called a code Blue and gotten a cardiac cart into that cafeteria to render aid. No one bothered to because "it was not policy." I can assure you that if the person who made the 911 call had a relative in extremis they would have done much more than just pick up the phone. This is simply unconscionable behavior for anyone around the distressed veteran. Wake up, America!

On the other hand, I must tell you out of an abundance of fairness that in La Jolla and at Loma Linda, California, the care I have received is above and beyond outstanding in every respect. These folks don't just treat their patients, they love them and it shows at every turn. It shows up in attitude, tonality, their sense of urgency, and in so many other ways. My primary care physician and his staff are primus inter pares in the entire healthcare system. I honestly believe that comes from strong and committed leadership because it is reflected in every area of the hospitals and clinics and service is offered cheerfully and attentively by competent professional staff that care about outcomes and demonstrate common sense every day without ever having to be asked.

Roy Wasson thank your lucky stars you are where you are. I filed an appeal on a military service connected problem and it took the VA 311 days to get me an appointment in St. Louis. The Dr (used loosely) could not even read the VA Form nor was he able to find the date which was 1/4 inch from the signature and after a 10 minute do nothing treatment he said thanks we will be in touch. Only because I got a US Senator to contact the VA Center was I able to put some closure to this, not what the answer should have been but unless I want to spend another year on this I will seek medical treament from the local Mercy hospital.

What a bunch of dumb asses in that facility!!!!!!!!!!!! No wonder the investigation.

Mr. Postom
You may be right, that I might be a total idiot. In viewing the map presented showing no direct access from the cafeteria to the ER, I can understand the VA policy which appeared to currently be the fastest source of help.
While I constantly read all the stories both positive and negative about care provided by the VA, I have only had a few veteran friends from the WWII era from the past and a few clients during my early years in my 40+ year career with HHSA using VA medical services, after completing my 4 years of military service. Over 3/4 of my male high school classmates served during the 1960's; while a few friends here in the San Diego area continue to use Naval Hospital for medical care, I am not aware of any who have ever used VA services; most never will.
Back on the topic, I would hope that a bystander who was present in that cafeteria responds to let us know what actually happened rather than just an official response from the hospital's administration.

To whoever raised the issue of "liability", there are 2 standards. One is for medically trained personnel, i.e. EMTs, nurses, doctors, etc. They are held to a much higher standard regarding malpractice, malfeasance & negligence. The 2nd is for the average citizen who tries to help & may be trained in CPR & AED. They are covered under Good Samaritan laws in all states as long as they don't try to do something they aren't trained for & have no legal obligation to perform so "liability" isn't an issue. Why nobody took action to try to save this veteran is totally unconscionable. If there was trained medical staff present in the cafeteria & they failed to assist, it could fall under the standard of criminal negligence. One would also think a medical facility would have readily available AEDs which can be used even by an untrained individual. Truly a heartbreaking situation.

I have received decent care @ the local VA hospital here in Ia. Why are they having such problems @ the hospitals out in the west? Don't they care about the vets? Fix the system so all vets get the proper care!

Their should be a code team assigned daily at the hospital. You hear codes called all the time over the loud speaker. These code teams are even sent to the parking lot and the cafeteria at times at the Palo Alto VA. That's absurd waiting 30minutes. Someone should be held accountable. Being a Veteran and at the VA waiting for an ambulance for over 30 minutes is ridiculous. Abraham Lincoln said. "Common sense is the lest of the senses but the most important" Someone should of taken him to the ER one way or another within a certain time period. If it was during lunch my common sense tells me there was a Nurse or Doctor present and or someone that was CPR trained. Now this is very SAD. Prayers for this Vet and his grieving family.

My husband & I both are Veterans but my husband is retired Army & served in-country both in Korea & Viet Nam. Since his return from Korea he showed signs of stomach problems but of course he wouldn't go on sick call. Remember that era, "don't ride the sick book?" Things have just gotten worse but most physicals and/or tests have been negative until September 2012 when he had a colonoscopy & they found a questionable spot or shadow & the Dr's/surgeons gave us choices with excellent explanations of each & we decided on surgery. They took out 1 ft of colon which turned out to be cancer. All has been good since until about 10 months ago when he completely lost his appetite, lost interest in everything & became very pale & bent over. on 5 June I called his primary care at the VA hospital & explained what was happening to which they told me to get him to VA ER ASAP (a 30 minute drive from our home). We arrived at VA ER & as soon as he gave his name they told us to go thru the door & we had someone waiting & took my husband directly to a cubicle. Immediately there was a male nurse there, helped my husband take off his shirt & started an EKG while another nurse started taking blood. Blood samples were sent to the Lab & they came in and took my husband for a test in another part of the hospital. After all that, the ER Dr came over & ask permission to do a blood transfusion of which we agreed then he told us my husband had lost between 40-45% of his body's blood. My husband was admitted at around 2230 & they did the transfusion in his room. After 10 days in the hospital & many, many tests, exams, blood samples later they found where the blood had gone & they inserted a stent in the stomach area as they had found cancer which had nothing to do with the first one. We had choices what to do & if we did nothing.....maybe 6 months; Chemo?.....slow it down but no cure; surgery?.....well, 84 years old, run down & a great risk but if he survived a 6 to 8 + hour surgery it "could" get rid of it. Our Surgeon at the VA said we should have another opinion so he did 2 consults with surgeons also in oncology which enlightened us tremendously to a new chemo then radiation so now tomorrow, 11 Jul we make the decision. I Thank the Good Lord that we have the Dr's, Nurses & Surgeons at McGuire that we have. Professionalism, kindness, caring, what more can you ask for?

I tried going thru all the VA channels for diagnosis and treatment. Mine is degenerative joint disease caused by Type II Diabetes related to Agent Orange Exposure in Viet Nam. Had went to the VA Spine Clinic and they said stenosis was not that bad and my condition had not progressed any more than the last time I saw them. The VA still refuses to add the ships I was on in berth, pier and anchored in inland waters of Viet Nam as I did not show I had set foot on land and I guess a pier is not dirt so it is not land. Anyway I have outside insurance and when I saw an outside specialist his remarks what are they (VA) talking about you have a bulging disc in C4 thru C7 with stenosis and narrowing of the spinal cord. Got surgery done on the outside but the VA will not pay for it for it was not done by the VA. The specialist on the outside says my lower spine is worse than my neck was when had the surgery. I was told there is nothing that can be done unless it could be life threatening or be crippled and that is why I try not to go to the VA for most serious illnesses for could die before treatment is done. I hate the drive of about 80 to 100 miles to get to the VA Hospital and be stuck in bumper to bumper traffic and then wait inline for hours for an appointment then for travel pay inline again for an hour. Has improved and hopefully will be direct deposit for travel in the future. I just wish the veterans could see outside doctors for treatment with the VA paying for it. Even if the VA did you would go thru all the red tape and take 4 to 12 months to pay or deny then have to put in for a BVA hearing which would take 2 years or more to be decided. It has been over two years from my most resent BVA hearing and don't expect anything soon if ever. The problem is most politicians don't care and when they try takes years to make any results happen. Just a surprises that anything is being investigated now when should have been done 20 years ago for I have fought the red tape for over 34 years and even now send me a form to fill out if I worked even part time. That is because I get 10 percent for unemployability of which I am 65 now and with my health issues can not stand to sit or stand long periods without getting severe lower back pain and when that happens just take my pain pills to ease the pain at night so I can sleep. Nothing was done when it could have been when the VA misdiagnosed my conditions and kept saying for years it was not service connected which is the VA's catch all phrase. I have a friend that served on two of the same ships as I did and he has all the same problems and conditions and the VA gives him 10% and this is 10 years time. He will die before he ever gets anything but the VA pays for his voice controlled computer and fixes it for him and they say it is only 10% not likely the VA would pay for that if it shouldn't be more. Ten years at $3,000 per month then see how much of a back claim would cost that is why.

Why do you have to have facebookie to respond to any of these stories?

You don't need FB to comment. But, if you are signed into FB, the site will tie into FB.

Did it ever occur to anyone that the plight of veterans is being exploited by the media by ginning up hysteria over something that, if it happened to a civilian, would not have even made the news? Think about it. You are being played for the sake of ratings.

The media is exploiting the stigma that surrounds veterans that were are a pitable lot and have to be treated with kid gloves and aren't fit to live in polite (READ: civilian) society. The downside of having your military service define you in those circumstances is that civilians will project all kinds of undeserved dysfunctions on us and excusing not treating us like rational human beings.

I can tell from the reactionary hysteria of some of the comments that the public is being shown exactly why we don't get treated with normal human respect. Tone it down and try to get all the facts before flying off the handle.

The fire dept should be at the scene within 4 min. of being paged, there is more to this than we are reading.

You are right. I thought every VAMC had their own ambulance as well as a Fire Department.

They probably could have gotten him to ER on a Gurney.

I lost my husband (Vietnam combat vet) due to VA health ( FTCA and 1151award)

I recently wrote to Congressman Miller about the fact the Section 1151 awards of malpractice or wrongful death do not have any accountability at all.

FTCA settlements do, if they are reported to the National Practitioners Data Bank.

My settlement wasn't reported and I have never gotten a straight answer as to why from the OGC.

Yet...but I will.

I proved 6 years of malpractice in one NY VAMC and then a cover up attempted in another NY VAMC.

I hope the family of this vet files a FTCA tort against them for "failure to treat".

The worst of the VA is yet to come.

To quote the Albuquerque Journal, There's a table of doctors sitting right next to him and none of them are doing s---". A statement by the lady who called 911.

This is nothing new. THis is VA Care. Now the point you are missing is this is OBAMA CARE
THe exact thing you voted for and or are now accepting. Welcome to Obama's world. Here is your change.
A VA doc gets paid if he sees one patient a day or 33. A doc in the private sector has to see 28 to 33 to
make the practice work and fund itself and the employees. Think about this for a second. OK it is you turn to opine. Doug Retired Army.

Some folks never miss a chance to bash Obama care and the Legion seems happy to have them. This has nothing to do with Obama care. This was a stupid rule that no one had the intestinal fortitude to ignore and do the right thing. Get off of Obama. Most of these yopung Vets are the result of the BS war Bush started. You have an axe to grind but you need to go to another forum. If you think this reflects on Obama care you are an idiot!

Some folks never miss a chance to bash Obama care and the Legion seems happy to have them. This has nothing to do with Obama care. This was a stupid rule that no one had the intestinal fortitude to ignore and do the right thing. Get off of Obama. Most of these young Vets are the result of the BS war Bush started. You have an axe to grind but you need to go to another forum. If you think this reflects on Obama care you are an idiot!

Thank you for voicing my thoughts exactly!

The title of the story is very misleading. Everyone is missing the point, Even my 11 year old Granddaughter saw that. This man was not at the VA hospital, he was at a small building that serves as the cafeteria full of non-medical people. It is part of the complex , but not a part of the VA Hospital proper The News or "Talkingheads" saw and opportunity to get on the band wagon and trash the VA Hospital.The "American Legion" took part in the trashing. Very sad commentary. BTW the VA Hospital treats only Veterans of the Unites States Military and Some of their qualified dependents. I am a disabled veteran and have no sake in this story, but I do think that when a person is charged with telling a story to the public, it should told in a truthful, and even handed manner.

All you people out there, pay close attention. This is just a sample of what is going to happen to your health care when the government completely takes it over....OBAMACARE. I have personally worked in VA hospitals as a medical student and as a resident, and had experience with the care they provide as a private practitioner and it is 3rd rate...very poor. They have a shortage of well trained doctors, and in many they are 3rd World trained and not the most talented. The ancillary staff are typical of union mentalities...government bureaucrats...punching the clock and doing the minimum to keep their jobs. Think "Department of Motor Vehicles". You know how much fun it is to go there and spend your day. Imagine those kind of people running your health care. This story illustrates the idiotic mentality that exists in the VA and other government agencies. No "common sense". The poor veteran would probably be alive if he had just had his heart attack at a McDonalds where someone with common sense would have provided immediate first aid...and might have even carried him in their car to the emergency room.

I live in Cosby, TN. For 15 years I have been treated at the Quillian US VA Medical Center in Johnson City, TN. It is a trip of more than 80 miles one way. I am 70 and I live alone. Thus I drive to the VA alone.

I have been a disabled vet for almost 50 years now.

Quillian like a lot of VA hospitals and clinics is VERY GOOD in some respect and ABYSAMALLY BAD in others. In 50 years you can imagine the number of doctors, nurses, lab techs, x-ray, MRI, and other medical specialists I have seen.

98% of THESE are top flight, caring, DEVOTED (to vets) PROFESSIONALS.

The clerical personnel are possibly 75 % devoted to veterans.

The "ADMINISTRATORS" ... They were once like their medical peers just as top flight, caring, devoted professionals. In the past 20 years they have consistently gotten more and more DETATCHED and UNAPPROACHABLE. And I would not be surprised if a thorough investigation of these would not show a group promoted two rungs above their capability.

The reason of course is HOW the VA promotes. It is no secret that the VA MUST HIRE AND PROMOTE ACCORDING TO ever changing directives from the various administrations in Washington, D.C. In addition they (VA) are closely scrutinized by congress, the president and the (NEW) czars who are paid huge salaries to monitor all government departments and agencies. And that is exactly WHY this president and legislative group "IS" just as irresponsible in this matter as any one else.

I have said for 45 years that the Equal Employment and Affirmative Action programs would be the death knell not only for agencies like the VA, but for the veterans they serve.

Give the raw data to objective professionals that deal with the analysis of such data and such systems (as the VA) and you will see a graph showing the slow and inexorable decline in the professionalism of the VA "ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISIONS".

Considering what brought us all to this point the GD!!! Director of the hospital where this veteran perished needlessly SHOULD have been FIRED this morning at 0800 hrs.

What in the hell can any of us expect of a VA under the "Administration" of barack oboma? The man always was a FAKE. He is now a compromised FAKE getting more pathetic by the day walking around like he has a single clue. He doesn't.

The people elected this bum "TWICE" and now every one is afraid to impeach the worst president to ever besmirch the office of President.

oboma, Shinseki and a thousand more Equal Opportunity - Affirmative Action CLOWNS that are supposed to lead this agency and other agencies just as important AS THE va and the only thing they can offer their subordinates is a primer in self-serving, back-biting, cover-my-ass or you-are-outta here POLITICAL brake-dancing!

Go ahead - label me a racist. Throw in misogynist ... because the KIND of woman hired and promoted by this federal government is pulling this nation down just as fast the other groups named.

I offer you nancy pelosi ... what in the hell is that hysterical, moronic woman supposed to offer this nation in return for her bloated salary and retirement golden nest egg?

YEAH! You tell me. Go right ahead.

John P. McKenzie
Cosby, Tennessee

i am a veteran and have tried the va facilities and they did more damage than good so i use medicare and secondary insurance for civilian doctors and hospitols as they know where their money is coming from. the va stinks and cost more than using civilian facilities.

VA's policy to have an ambulance come when a person could be gotten to the ER in less than about three minutes is another example of VA policy makers being void of common sense and being driven a total lack of wisdom. Rules are there but common sense should not be ruled out when the rules don't match the circumstances. The VA is not the only ones with this questionable rule.n A local hospital in the New Orleans area has a doctors office facility attached to the main building. The entrance of the "Medical towers is less than 200 yards from the entrance to the ER. (the inside route is much closer). When a patient has to go to the ER, say for a heart attack, an ambulance is summoned. I must come from at least two blocks away. The EMTs must come up the elevators to the office, load the patient, then travel back to the front entrance. (About 75 to 100 yd round trip from the elevators) then drive out of the Hospital grounds, and around the corner then back into the ER ambulance entrance to the ER. (About two blocks). The time is measured in tens of minutes, not minutes. To bring the patient down, in a wheelchair, and over to the ER, from even the furthest offices, would be less than five minutes (not counting elevator waiting time which the EMTs also have to deal with). When asked why this policy, the hospital stated that it had to do with liability. In short, such ridicules rules are fostered by greedy lawyers who will encourage people to
sue for medical malpractice even when the best of care is provided.

At a recent dedication a Viet Nam Vet collapsed with in moments a VA Doctor who was there to be part of the dedication and a first responder who now was on a motorize scooter sprang into action with in moment they had him stabilized and the Ambulance arrived to take him to the closes hospital. The Doctor and first responder stay with him till they were ready to transport not inhibiting the ambulance or fire dept. but aiding them in every way I do not understand why the problem with the VA is where it is because in the East they care for the Vets in everyway. We hold a big Vets Appreciat9ion Picnic for going on 26 years with two VA Hospitals participating in the Event from the time the Vets arrive with a Nursing staff they are with the most varnable of the Patients attending ever so watchful of these Vets

Coming out of the Navy as a Corpsman and Physical Therapy Assistant, then obtaining my degrees in both Physical Therapy & for the Physicians Assistant program at Baylor College of Medicine, I know good and bad medicine. Almost 95% or more of the VA difficulty is not the staff, either medical or clerical, rather the political and economic difficulties and diverse policies placed upon them by the politics of the VA and the congressional oversight, or lack of such supervision. All but an extremely small number of the physicians are at the least competent to treat within their specialty and many are outstanding. Most of the clerical staff are dedicated as well, but many times they must operate under vague or misleading information brought about by those above them, the supervisors and administration policies that make it very difficult to operate as they should. The VA will only allow them a certain number and type of medications, they must pick from a limited variety, and any "non-critical" surgeries must be evaluated before being approved, some using outdated diagnostic equipment and older surgical procedures. So complain to the proper persons next time you have an issue, don't take it out on the medical staff, nor if you have a beef with some clerical issues, the persons you usually need to be hunting are at the "top", administrators and supervisors. I am not a VA employee, but have been treated in a number of VA hospitals, and find that of them, I am most satisfied with McGuire VA in Richmond, VA. Their association with the Medical College of Virginia is of great value as it assures an influx of new and/or advanced procedures and techniques as well as fresh, new talent in all possible fields.
So instead of just complaining about "the VA" in general, pinpoint your particular difficulty with them and address it to the proper areas, be it a medical or clerical problem. And if that does not work, take it to your Congressman or Representative, individually they are not as bad as when collectively together along their party lines. I have done so, and found it can and did work wonders with my particulars about the practices and the administration at the facility in question.

I would be unable to sleep at night if I had a hand in this,the VA is killing us.SEMPER Fi

DEAR SIRS/MADAM July 19, 2014

UPDATE: Sent to Fox Network on July 19, 2014; Mr. Sparrow passed away July 23, 2014

My father in law, Glenn Sparrow, Lake Charles, Louisiana is an 82 year old Army veteran. He has used the veterans’ health care system all his life, mostly in Louisiana, using the Alexandria, La hospital and others in Louisiana.

He has had coronary bi pass surgery, back surgeries, diabetes and other misc. things taken care of by the VA.

About a year ago he was transferred to the VA hospital in Houston Texas because the Louisiana system could not take care of his problems. This is a 300 mile round trip.

His nearest clinic to see a primary doctor is in Beaumont, Texas, over 60 miles from his home, 120 miles round trip. Since he is assigned to this clinic, due the inability of the Alexandria, Louisiana hospital to care for his needs, he is forced to use the Beaumont clinic. His doctor at the Beaumont clinic told him that he was just a burden to his family and to go home.
He was really disappointed. His specialty doctors are at the Houston VA Hospital, because he is being forced to use the Beaumont, Texas primary clinic. The hospital is 150 miles one way, 300 miles round trip to Lake Charles, his home town. They expected him to go there for specialized treatment, consisting of doctor appointments and tests.

Currently he caught MRSA at the hospital in Houston. He has 17 lesions on his leg and they will not heal. The family has been trying to get the VA to address the problem but all they want to do is give him more appointments with different doctors. His last visit was to a wound care doctor at the Houston VA and they did nothing but send him home with medical honey to put on his leg and wrap it up. They refused to admit him to the VA hospital in Houston.

He did this for two weeks and the lesions were worse. His heart started failing and his kidneys were starting to fail.

The family called 911 in Lake Charles, Louisiana and he was taken by ambulance to the West Calcasieu Cameron hospital in Sulphur, Louisiana. The VA is "supposed to pay" if he has an emergency and cannot get to a VA hospital. He could not even stand up, never the less get in a car and go to the nearest emergency room. The ambulance came and the paramedics had to take him out on a stretcher and on to the hospital in the ambulance.

Currently he is still in West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital, with the lesions still on his legs; heart failing and kidneys failing.
As of today July 19, 2014, he is in West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital, Sulphur Louisiana, dying of loss of kidney function; only 20% of his heart is working and he is trying to recover from MRSA, picked up in the VA hospital in Houston, Texas. The Veterans Administration primary doctor told him to go home and quit being a burden on his family. His doctor at West Calcasieu Cameron hospital said “Only God will determine if he leaves the hospital.”

The bottom line is like is this. The VA should have put him in the hospital when the MRSA lesions were reported to them on one of his trips to the heart doctor in Houston. They did not. Instead they make at least five trips, over 1500 miles just to find out they are stonewalling him. In light of what the family saw was going on, 911 was called and he was hospitalized in West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital. He stayed in ICU for four days and now he is in a room.

The VA does not care about the veterans. I am a Vietnam Veteran and I moved from Louisiana to Arkansas. I have PTSD, heart problems and have had a heart attack and a stroke since moving here. I have private insurance because I used the VA for over 10 years and I knew they would not take the necessary action to improve my health. Last year I had major respiratory failure, but I used my private insurance.

The information about my father in law, Glenn Sparrow needs to be on the national news so the country can see how the VA and the Federal government is telling people lies about taking care of Vets and how things are getting fixed. Obama is lying; Congress is lying; Veterans Administration is lying; IRS is lying; DOJ is lying about the state of the union of this country and about the veterans. MS Lerner of the IRS and the top administrators of the Veteran Administration should be in jail for being traitors to the United States of America and branded as Jane Fonda of the year – “Hanoi Jane”. Our President is a wimp and scared to look an enemy in the eye and meet them face to face. He is a pussy. PERIOD.

My father in law is not expected to recover from his diseases, especially the MRSA. You cannot give severe diabetic but only certain types of antibiotics with shutting down the kidneys. He is going to die, period. It is up to God when he will go to heaven.

Just thought you would want to know how proud I am of the Veterans Administration and the whole of the Federal Government for indirectly killing my father in law.
My wife is down in Louisiana taking care of her Dad at the hospital has been for a few weeks now. If you need more information you can email me and I will give you her cell number.

The public needs to know how the government is lying about veterans care, even though they say they are "working on fixing the system". My father in law will be dead because of them and all the talk from Washington is not going to save him. If they would have acted promptly and with vigor when he told him he was sick, I believe he would not be in this condition.
This country is going to hell in a hand basket with all the bureaucratic mess in Washington; there is no one home in Washington any longer that cares except about their own ass.
I will remember what this government has done to my father in law. Sometimes, what goes around comes back around to bite you. Today, I am proud to be an American. I am a patriot today, standing up for what I believe and I believe this country is going down the tubes. I stood up and fought in combat for thirteen months in Vietnam, at least you can air this story.

Wayne Hill Bergeron, Vietnam Combat Veteran, United States Army, 1969-1971
55 Katta Drive
Cherokee Village, Arkansas 72525

Perhaps many that read this will disagree, but my personal observation is that there are a whole lot of militant feminists (female-Nazis) who make up the lions share of management at VA Central Office, the 21 VISN regional offices, and the major VA Medical Centers. I have dealt with their feminist hostility many times. If anyone bothers to take a close look, you'll see a disproportionate number of women in administration and management positions compared to the corporate world. I do not believe that women who have serious physiological issues every month, and then menopause after their prime, should be in any major decision-making positions.

There is no rational explanation for why this anomaly exists or why so many of these women are openly hostile to men who question their actions at VA. Look at almost every VAMC that has the worst aspects of the current VA scandal and you'll see a woman as the director, etc. Men have had the term misogynist rubbed in our faces for the past two decades. But the truth is that is a synonym for that term. Its called "Misandrist," meaning "women that hate men."

You want to figure out why this scandal has gotten as rotten as it has, take a close look at who was the chief stonewaller at VA Central Office of Legislative Affairs, who came to the House VA committee and LIED through her teeth, Joan Mooney. Her testimony was nothing short of arrogant and defiant and deceitful. She couldn't give a straight answer to anything. Want another example? Try Allison Hickey, who also lied about the claims backlog by fudging the statistics to make her computer improvements at VA to be a success. She also shamelessly lied to the House VA committee, even when the Inspector General, Linda Halliday, sat right next to her and told the committee that she had no faith in the verity of Hickey's figures, since all the data sets Hickey provided ALL proved to be untrue. Take a little survey of your own and see if my accusations here don't prove true. Time to put them all in prison where they belong for murdering veterans by lying to get their bonuses. As any man should know, women are much bigger and better liars than men are. And that's a fact.

I agree with every word you posted Lawrence Kelley III !

AND you have the balls to post your name.

The most "obvious" reason for the collapse of American government is the "appointment" of unqualified, basically STUPID women to position for which they will never be qualified.

Senator (ha!!) Nancy Pelosi is the best, worst, most glaring example possible.

"We will vote on this bill and THEN read it"!

ONLY A MORON would say that.

ONLY A MORON would do as she said.

GDI - I would spit on her $400. shoes if I were there.

I promise to piss on her (and jane fonda's HEADstone.

We are in trouble men. With good intentions we have thrown open the gates to the "hen"house and the fowl birds are filling it with their very stinky excreta.

The same can be said for affirmative action/equal opportunity.

It all sounds so good but in an era when saying "NO" is a lost art it results like "D O L T S" like barack h. oboma being elevated (I'd say) to somewhere around 20 rungs above his capability.

Don't let me sour your day ... IF you are a complete moron and still believe in the legitimacy of this "pig in a poke" GO right ahead and "LANGUISH".

THE REAL LOSS - there are plenty of blacks fully qualified by their own good judgment and they did not wait around for Washington (and the many idiots there) to "appoint" them. These men qualified themselves which is the way the game was always played. That is before the ascendancy of the liberal vomit/mucus which is in every way co-joined at the hip with the anti-war toilet paper people.

IF you are a liberal snot sucker do NOT post anything to me because I will rip your pug ugly face off (figuratively speaking because I would handle Ebola before I touched you with my hands).

And IF the government were ever again to post REAL figures about "women in the military" you would see the REAL cost of having them under foot. People who have given their lives for their country are due complete respect. But if you KNEW of the pregnancy loophole used just a little less frequency than the race card you might talk to your son before he enlisted. And then there is the "disability factor". We knew before hand that women could NOT stand up in the long term to combat stresses, not the least of which is pms.

So after the added cost of these Indiana Janes we taxpayers have to pay for their demonstration of "combat capability". And the men unlucky enough to be assigned to units with them have to constantly guard them.

Yes! I know that some believe that woman are physiologically more suited to high speed "g" forces. Wait until the "first female is shot down and captured by the muslim SCUM of this dying world". I guess we go to nuclear war right?

John P. McKenzie, Cosby, TN

John P. McKenzie, Cosby, TN

Great article. This is an interesting topic, it is really informative presentation. BTW, Just in case anyone needs to fill out a VA forms, I found a blank forms in this site PDFfiller. This site also has some tutorials on how to fill it out and a tons of fillable tax forms that you might find useful. Here is a VA Form 21-8940 unemployability that I was able to fill out

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.