Richardson: Death paints shocking problems with VA hospital - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Voices

Richardson: Death paints shocking problems with VA hospital

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Retired Mesa master police officer Bill Richardson lives in the East Valley and can be reached at bill.richardson@cox.net.

Posted: Monday, April 14, 2014 12:50 pm

What is going on at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Hospital?

An April 10, 2014, Arizona Republic story, "Deaths at Phoenix VA hospital may be tied to delayed care," reported: “It appears as though there could be as many as 40 veterans whose deaths could be  related to delays in care,” according to U. S. Congressman Jeff Miller, R-Florida. Miller also disclosed  “staff investigators also have evidence that the Phoenix VA Health Care System keeps two sets of records to conceal prolonged waits that patients must endure for  doctor appointments and treatment.” 

Criminals, ranging from gangsters to sophisticated while collar con men keep “two sets of records.” One set is designed to deceive law enforcement and regulatory authorities from discovering illegal activities and the other is so the crooks know exactly what is going on within their enterprise.

One can only wonder why a U. S. Government agency charged with providing benefits to those who served America would want to keep “two sets of records?”

In the veteran community you hear of excellent care from some VA facilities but when the discussion turns to poor and bureaucratic care the facility that comes up first is the hospital in Phoenix. The horror stories I’ve heard are too numerous to mention.

Two veterans with serious orthopedic injuries received in Iraq I spoke with told me they had to wait months for surgery due to the VA not having a local specialist available. They said the VA uses a government doctor out of Albuquerque. Another vet who suffered a traumatic brain injury after being blown up in Iraq struggled for proper care at the VA and only got it after being rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital’s Barrow Neurological Institute by ambulance and a doctor there asserting control over the patient after he nearly died. The VA wanted the patient back at their hospital to do it their way and the doctor refused to release him.

In an April 13, 2014, letter to the editor at the Arizona Republic, the former Chandler City Councilman and naval reservist with multiple combat tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, and places unknown, calls for “Gen. Eric Shinseki, secretary of Veterans Affairs, has failed and therefore needs to be relieved, along with a whole host of others, including the current director of the Phoenix VA hospital. Those who engaged in manipulating medical records need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. No deals, no exceptions. This is a national disgrace, and Phoenix is at the epicenter.” 

I agree 100 percent.

According to Dan Caldwell, a Marine infantryman who pulled combat duty in Iraq, “Due to personnel policies, even if the VA wanted to fire incompetent staff, they’re protected by the government.” Caldwell, who serves as the Issues and Legislative Campaign Manager for the Concerned Veterans for America, will be part of a rally to protest ongoing VA neglect at Steele Indian Park at 300 E. Indian School Rd., next to the VA Hospital on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. 

It’s a sad commentary that veterans who went to war have to come home and fight for their lawfully earned benefits. What’s even sadder is that veterans who survived war now come home and die because “a grateful nation” refuses to take care of their war injuries.

Even with Arizona’s super powerful Congressional delegation Arizona’s veterans continually get the shaft from the VA hospital in Phoenix.

I’m not surprised at all the Phoenix VA keeps “two sets of records.” They’ve got plenty to hide.

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