VA Shuts Down Investigators During Med Mal Crisis

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VA Med Mal

Benjamin KrauseDept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) has shut down the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) office responsible for investigating med mal at VA facilities during the most outrageous crisis in agency history.

Med mal is short for medical malpractice, which is an act of negligence that occurs when a health care provider harms a patient. At the root of many current VHA scandals is medical malpractice, where VHA doctors substantially deviated from the appropriate standard of care. Currently, many veterans are dead due to such deviations.

Botched care was at the root of many veteran deaths at Marion VA a couple years back. It was also at the root of deaths in Georgia, Dallas, Pittsburgh and elsewhere.

The VHA Office of Medical Inspector (OMI) is the arm of VHA that is charged with investigating reports related to medical malpractice and other problems within VHA. While the OMI does have a reputation for pencil whipping allegation denials, it is nonetheless the first stop in trying to get justice for an employee or harmed veterans.

One veteran sleuth caught the closure and brought it to my attention immediately.

The OMI website currently reads:

“Thank you for contacting the OMI. Unfortunately, we are unable to take cases during the reorganization of our Office, but you must refer them to the VA Office of Inspector General. They can be reached at: 1 (800) 488-8244.”

Anyone familiar with reporting anything to VA OIG is familiar with OIG’s usual response to veterans. “We do not look into individual problems like yours.”

The veteran sleuth, Ron Nesler, said this publicly when he discovered the outage:

One of the worst of the sham offices of VA has always been the Office of the Medical Inspector. They have ALWAYS been used as a tool to COVER UP for VA lies and corruption. Apparently the scandal came down around their lying ears, and they have been shut down for RE-ORGANIZATION. This is a big win for veterans. Pass the word. This is further proof, that a piss ant can eat a bale of hay, if he takes it ONE bite at a time. Keep the pressure on the liars and thrives at VA. They ALL need to be shut down for “re-organization.”

Indeed, this could be a great sign that VA is finally taking problems related to intentional cover-ups and deception seriously. So seriously, in fact, that it shut down the OMI.

The only foreseeable problem here is that the VA arm with expertise in this arena is no longer taking claims and punting them over the VA OIG.

Is this a sign that veteran are winning? Or, is it another way to reduce the number of affirmative claims of VA mismanagement and malpractice?

See It Here: http://www.medicalinspector.va.gov/

 

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16 Comments

  1. Great reporting here Ben!

    I wonder if this re- organization maneuver ( a CTA one at best) will mess up one of my recent FOIAs to VHA..

    VHA .OGC, OMLA (Office of Medical/Legal-VA) and VA Med Mal all have access to malpractice claims awards from the VA.

    Another FOIA I sent did get a VBA response, that supports points I have made to the House VAC, and to the VA OIG on 1151,38 USC non public malpractice VA awards, but yesterday the FBI responded to me to be more specific in my FOIA request to them.

    ( I think my request was very clear : what VAMCs have they investigated so far ,or will in the future ,due to the Phoenix situation.)

    I have been a hardcore VA claimant and advocate for over 2 decades and found that when you keep picking at a VA scab it will sure start to bleed.

  2. This is just another one of those mis-directions employed by the VA so that they can continue getting away with stuff they have been caught at. I’ve always been suspicious of this recent pick of McDonald as VA Secretary and how fast he was approved by this Congress and this Administration so quickly. They talk about transparency at the VA now. Does transparency mean doing away with Med Mal so that when you look at it and see nothing there; does that mean transparency exists at the VA?

  3. I AGREE, DENNIS. A SNAKE IS ALWAYS A SNAKE, WHETHER HE IS ASLEEP OR LYING IN THE BUSH PREPARED TO STRIKE. WE WANT TO BELIEVE IN OUR GOVT AGAIN, BUT WE ALSO MUST BE WATCHFUL THAT THINGS DO NOT GET AS FAR OUT OF “HAND” AS THEY ARE NOW.

  4. Ben: While all of this should be no surprise to the informed, I don’t see any real value in commenting in particular on this or any other related matter.
    The fact of the matter is that this venue, and others like it, is like a Veterans version of the View. All we need is to have Whoopi Goldberg and her panel lament what we already know.
    Where’s is the pro-active Plan of Action ? We can peruse point-counter point until we expire.

  5. delays in treatment didnt cause any deaths?

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2014/08/25/va-delays-not-linked-to-veteran-deaths.html

    I just got this……absurd….

    since when does the IG have the medical expertise to opine on VA deaths?

    or maybe they had posthumous C & P s done.And we all know how C & Ps can favor the VA, because that is who pays the C & P docs.

    I had countless mountains to climb when VA killed my husband….
    but in spite of that I proved my case.
    and I hope these surviving family members get independent medical opinions on the deaths of these Phoenix vets and pursue under FTCA (and .or 1151)

    • The VA presctpribed Xanax in August 2008. Did not follow up on him within the 14-30 days as is protocol for a change medication therapy. 10 months later the VA mailed 180 Hydromorphone, 180 Xanax, 90 Vicodin, and he was dead with in 24 hours. He did not overdose, the lab performing his autopsy is willing to release a clarification of his toxicity which proves his death was due to an inproper combination of drugs and not fllowing up on his tolerance to 2 schedule II narcotics.
      If the VA had read his oximetry report to fill his prescription for 24/7 oxygen therapy, they would have recognized a problem. The OMBUDSMAN investigated and ruled his death the worst case of wrongful death in recorded history and the best documented case. 7 departments underwent disciplinary actions from Tyler VA Clinic & Dallas VA Hospital.
      I was advised, by a VA rep that I would qualify for 42 months of educational benefits as my Dad was severly mentally incapacitated and couod not have filed for benefits I qualified for when I went to college in 1996 and 1997. I have GI Bill Bridge loans to start college in October 2010 as I received a letter qualofying me for benefits back to My 2010.
      Now the VA sends me denial letters, yet calls my Congressmen Louie Ghomert 2 times I n 1 week the week of May 26, 2014.
      When I first believed my Dad’s death was an accident, it was painful. Now I know people received bonuses, while others were pu ished for their actions, makes my stomach turn. Please help me expose what they did to my Dad, Franklin S. Dykstra,Jr. He was 17 when he enlisted in the Army in 1963. He the volunteered to go to Vietnam in 1966 after his tour in Korea. He worked 8th Field Hospital in Na Trang, Vietnam 66-68.
      I would rather have lost my Dad to the enemy than to have lost him to greedy bastards in our own country. Men and women charged with procidibg the best medicine science has to offer. Why is Debakey VA Hospital in Houston rated #1? Because Baylor College of Medicine stafs it and many of the surgeons refuse to operate at the VA and Veternas are treated in their private Baylor practices, rather they are reimbursed or not. I worked for Baylor for nearly 5 years and heard many horror stories of VA bittom line taking priority of decent, humane treatment of Veterans. One resident called nothing shkrt of torture ro perofrm a surgical, cuttin procedure without so much as anesthetic to numb the area.
      In 2002 I watched the VA hospitals in Dallas and Shreveport treat my Dad like a drug addict when his left leg was swollen, red, purple and very hot to the touch….needed a doppler to get a pulse reading, well not. I brought him back to Tyler and took him to University of Texas Health Center and within 20 minutes of arrival Dad was on Coumadin IV (bloodthinner) for a bloodclot in his left groin.
      The worst VA experience was in 2003 when my Dad had began shooting guns in his house. I went to the local VA office in the Cottenbelt building and pleaded for help or advise on what tomdo to help my Dad as he was waving guns around and talking about murder suicide. He pointed a 45mag withs cope at me for no apparent reason. I did not think he would shoot me, but if he did my 15 year old son was 2 houses away and it would be a scene my son did not need to experience. The VA rep, fatigues places his ha d on my shoulder and advises “Honey, that is what Vietnam Vets do…..they commit suicide and there is nothing you or I can do about it.” I left choking back tears. I felt my only option was to move way with my son. Dad had signed for me to be his feduciary and caregiver, yet his behavior was just plain scary and I didn’t want him to hate me. He went on to wreck 4 cars and was placed in my custody in August 2006. In October 2006, a VA rep at 1-800-827-1000 told my Dad he could return to Tyler.
      The VA undermined every attempt I made to help my Dad. They killed him and refuse to accept responsibility other than Agent Orange. Then refuse Agent Orange benefits.
      So, I left my 17 year career helping people with eyeballs. I now am the Director of Texas Hoofbeats Animal Assisted Therapies or THAAT Ranch. We have an equine assisted psychotherapy and therapeutic riding program in Tyler, TX, on 38 acres of property that is serene and peaceful.
      Please help my Dad and force the VA to accept responsibility. I appreciate your time and thank you in advance for your assistance.
      God Bless,
      Adrain Dykstra Hurst
      Director of THAAT Ranch
      903-372-1871
      [email protected]
      thaatranch.org

      • I dont know if I am allowed to post here the link to the large disabled veterans web site I volunteer at daily ( have for about 16 years) .
        If you google Berta, or Berta FTCA or Berta Section 1151 Berta Agent Orange ,the site will surely pop up.

        I nave extensive info there under our FTCA forum as to what a living veteran or survivor of a vet can do if they feel strongly that VA malpracticed against a veteran.It doesn’t take long to join and post and others will try to help you as well.

        Medical negligence.-malpractice claims against VA need 2 things:
        a strong independent medical opinion from a real doctor ,versed in the field of disability they malpracticed on, that supports the malpractice with a full medical rationale.,based on the veteran’s VA medical records.
        And with a strong IMO one can get a good lawyer

        FTCA cases have a 2 year Statute of Limits from when the vet or their survivor learned of the alleged malpractice.

        FTCA can be googled for details.
        There are many malpractice laywers on the net too with VA experience.

        Section 1151 claims require the same strong medical evidence.

        The second thing these claims need In the case of a living veteran, the malpractice must be proven as well as the additional disability (ties) it has cause.

        Same for a wrongful death claim.The negligence must have directly caused or substantially contributed to the death of the veteran.
        I advise all veterans to tell the family you want an autopsy done when you die.
        It wont hurt a bit and, if you like my husband, are an organ donor, the autopsy has no cost and the organ donations will give you some peace.
        VA malpracticed on my husband so much that I didnt think the Organ bank could use anything, but they did, his eyes,long bones, and his skin.

        The autopsy of my husband was critical to my FTCA/1151 claims..

  6. Is this a sign that veteran are winning? Or, is it another way to reduce the number of affirmative claims of VA mismanagement and malpractice?
    Great reporting.
    I think that this is a sign that veterans with information that this website provide are chipping away at this embarrassment. I also believe that the claims numbers will go down but temporarily. Veterans will adjust fire and claims will go up stronger than ever.
    This a game to some in the VA sort of like fantasy football but with our lives. They love the game. Rightly or wrongly we as veterans are going to have to learn to love the game as much as they do. This site and Ben is like “Draft Day” where we draft Representatives, Lawyers, Laws, policies and procedures. This is where we do our game planning. This is why financially we must support this site and everyone involved in it. Lets learn to play the game to win.

  7. My husband is a veteran, he has been misdiagnosed for years. The most shocking of all is Three Strokes, over the last year and a half. Finally we convinced the Doctor to do a MRI, and sure enough three strokes. One older and two more recent. That was in May, today he has had no physical therapy,
    no rehabilitation of any kind. He is such a kind good person, does not deserve this kind of treatment. His Medical Records Are Open To Anyone Who Can Help. He is a patient of the Minneapolis VA Medical Center.

    • same with my husband, a Vietnam combat vet, multiple strokes they didnt treat properly, AO heart disease they tried to hide ,lousy PTSD case until I raised hell (100% P & T for PTSD) and undiagnosed and untreated DMII.and death by VA.

      I mentioned to someone else here how to get help from a large web site I am at daily as a volunteer.
      We have over 10 thousand registered members, and get about one million hits a year.

      • Dear Berta,
        Thank you for the web site. I will look it up. I am so sorry, for the terrible treatment of your husband. What is so sad, is my husband and I both worked there. We would have never treated our patients like this,

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