VA links poor care to 19 deaths at Ill. hospital

VA links poor care to 19 deaths at Ill. hospital

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Substandard care at a southern Illinois Veterans Affairs hospital may have contributed to 19 deaths over the past two years, a VA official said Monday as he apologized to affected families and pledged reform.

The hospital in Marion, Ill., initially drew scrutiny over deaths connected to a single surgeon, but two federal reports found fault with five other doctors.

The hospital undertook many surgeries that its staffing or lack of proper surgical expertise made it ill-equipped to handle, and hospital administrators were too slow to respond once problems surfaced, said Dr. Michael Kussman, U.S. veterans affairs undersecretary for health.

“I can’t tell you how angry we all are and how frustrated we all are. Nothing angers me more than when we don’t do the right thing,” Kussman told reporters during a conference call after releasing findings of the VA’s investigation and summarizing a separate inspector general’s probe.

Still, Kussman insisted, “what happened in Marion is an exception to what otherwise is a truly quality health care system” across the VA.

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VA links poor care to 19 deaths at Ill. hospital

As I sat here listening to George W. Bush giving his last State of the Union address and rattle his gums about how we’re going to do more for our Veterans and our troops returning home, I happened upon this story and it was all I could do to not puke…

Our troops do get good care, if the wounds don’t kill you out right, if you can get immediate combat care and get an evac to a field hospital where you’ll be stabilized and then flown to a state of the art military hospital, your chances of survival rise tremendously, and that’s awesome, I DO applaud the care our troops get when they are wounded in combat…

But our Veterans get the door slammed in their faces, they get 2nd and 3rd class treatment, they are ignored, they are pushed away and ignored, many DIE waiting for treatment, and that is what todays heroes can look forward to in their later years if there is not some serious reform within the V.A. and it’s administration…

And our Vets know this, our Vets know what it’s like to be handed a bottle of pills and told to take one every 4 hours until NO pain is felt, and when you run out, come on back, we’ll dope you up some more we’ll give you more treatments for your problems…

That’s the V.A. system, that’s the it’s always has been and unless some miracle happens, that’s the way it always will be..

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3 Responses to VA links poor care to 19 deaths at Ill. hospital

  1. BobF says:

    I think one of the problems is that the system is overwhelmed. Too much of our medical recourses and dollars are treating people who are in this country illegally.

    I knew military doctors back in the 80′s that would donate their off-duty time to work in VA Hospitals. With the draw down of forces and base closures of the 90′s, military doctors no longer have the extra time to donate. I would venture to say most active duty bases are experiencing a shortage of doctors.

  2. GUYK says:

    BobF is right..the hospitals are overwhelmed. I went to the VA Hospitla in Tampa for several years after I retired..I am a service connected disabled vet and had no problems with the care I received. But later the doctors just had more patients scheduled then they could take care of every day. The government finally came up with TRICARE..a military insurance (HMO) for retirees and I took it out and started going to civilan quacks..never regretted it.

    Part of the problem is that the VA Hospitals are expected to take care of all vets regardless of income or disability and there are just too many who have other options that are using VA. I am not saying that they have not earned their right to VA care nor that VA shouldn’t do anything but give them the best care possible. But it does seem that if those who have other options for medical care would exercise those options it would help VA take better care of those who have no other choices.

  3. Bloviating Zeppelin says:

    This is so damned sad. This is how we treat our veterans. My father, at 88, is one lucky man to have Tricare, and he DOES see civilian doctors. I can say he has been treated well and has bounced back from over FIVE major surgeries in three years. This makes me sick.


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