A recent article tells a tale of a veteran who was not getting the treatment he needed, and who was finally forced to seek the care he needed on his own initiative. The medical record does not describe what actually happened, according to the veteran, and the VA has denied any wrongdoing. However, it appears that the US Attorneys office may have opened a criminal investigation into the matter.
This veteran had it particularly rough. He had been previously diagnosed with a heart condition, and later in life, he experienced fainting spells which led to numerous injuries. His questions about whether these fainting spells were related to his heart condition went ignored by his VA care providers. He finally went to a non-VA care provider who immediately identified his condition, provided a treatment, and the veteran’s fainting spells ended. But, that isn’t the worst of the story.
During the course of his treatment, his VA care providers found growths on his kidneys. A VA urologist told him that he would require an operation, and the operation could not be under general anesthesia because of the veteran’s heart condition. If general anesthesia was used, the veteran could die. This VA urologist referred the veteran to a private clinic (which the urologist co-owned), and the veteran discovered that the plan for the surgery was to use general anesthesia.
The veteran brought this to his urologist’s attention. Thereafter, that VA urologist began missing appointments, but noting in the record that the veteran was the one who was a no-show. Eventually, the urologist told the veteran that the surgery he needed could be done without a general anesthetic – contrary to what he was told initially – and that it would be impossible for him to find a care provider who would perform the surgery without using a general anesthetic.
Turns out that wasn’t true. The veteran had to seek another VA care provider at a completely different hospital, but he got the care he needed.
Every once in a while, a veteran calls us to say that they have had an experience with a VA hospital, but the records don't say what actually happened. These are hard because the medical record is one of the most important pieces of evidence in any case. When that record does not say what a care provider actually did, it is difficult to make the case that what they did was wrong.
It is bad enough that had this veteran not gotten outside care, the malpractice of VA care providers could have led to dire consequences, and when VA care providers lie in the record, it makes it difficult for veterans to be compensated for that malpractice. Even worse – as in this case – it can put the veteran’s life at risk.
Worst of all is that the origin of this veteran’s heart condition was that, while he was on active duty, he was beaten by people protesting the invasion of Cambodia during the Vietnam war. No one should have to go through what this veteran has gone through.
You can read the article here:
Post written by David Tierney