If you’ve been following the news closely for past few months, you would’ve noted that there is massive concern over the ability of VA centers (hospitals for veterans). The head honcho of the entire enterprise has been replaced and the President himself has commented on the need to really shape up these health care facilities. There are stories of servicemen laying on cots with no sheets, in their own waste sometimes because no one has come to check on them and they cannot help themselves due to some condition they have. Up until today, I had been casually following these horror stories assuming that the problem was just short-staffing. I had hoped that neglect and indifference and incompetence did not come into play. I read this story today
For those of you who are understandably naive about veteran’s hospitals and, really, regular hospitals in general, I’ll shed what little light and insight I can give. I do not have a vast array of knowledge on veteran’s administration hospitals, but I did do a bit of work at the one in Philly and its linked to the Study I work in at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
The Virginia Veteran’s Hospital is known to be one of the premier places to go if you are in or were in the service. It’s not the Walter Reed Center, thought to be the pinnacle of veteran care, but it has a reputation for quality care and knowledgeable doctors. I realize that nobody is perfect, and mistakes happen, even in medicine, but I’m pretty sure you’ll join with in the thought that this is completely unacceptable and I don’t understand how this could happen.
You surgically removed…the wrong one? Without going into too much gross detail about the condition of this poor man’s reproductive member, it did say that “there was a chance it could harbor cancer cells. It also was atrophied and painful.” If you cannot tell the difference between one organ that’s atrophied and one that isn’t when they’re side by side, maybe you aren’t qualified to be performing cancer-removing surgery.
I’m shocked to read a story like this, and while I am aware that surgical mistakes happen, doctors cut places they shouldn’t, they don’t get everything out they should, and things can go wrong, it would be my hope that the people who are in the service are afforded the best care. This isn’t going to turn into a post about wars in Iraq or Afghanistan, or whether they’re just doing their job or liberating people from dictators and oppression, so don’t bother writing comments about that. I simply think that–regardless of where our military goes–the men and women who serve in it are entitled to medical care which is at least on par with what civilians get, if not better. Currently, no one seems to have anything good to say about the military hospitals and this a time when if something is going right, they should be pointing it out and shouting from the rooftops, “LOOK LOOK, WE’RE DOING IT RIGHT OVER HERE!” But story after story comes out about poorly managed medical facilities and patients either mistreated or neglected. This particular article is one of the more depressing I have come into contact with, but the sad state of affairs is that this doesn’t appear to be the exception to the rule anymore.
Time Magazine also published an article on the state of veteran’s medical centers here:
I hope the media attention this is getting is enough to wake people up. The problems mentioned in these articles are unacceptable for any care facility, much less facilities for our military men and women.