VA Still Covering Up Preventable Deaths
VA officials continue their dodgy responses to reporters inquiring into VA malpractice.
Yesterday, they refused to answer questions during a television interview about mystery deaths and injuries affecting 80 veterans across the country. Reporter Justin Gray did the interview for a local station in Georgia.
During the interview, VA official Philip Matkovsky refused to say whether or not the 19 deaths were “preventable deaths” despite internal documents indicating they were. He also refused to disclose the locations of the other veterans who were seriously injured.
“Why won’t the VA tell the public what locations that the 19 patients died because they didn’t get proper screening?” Gray asked VA undersecretary Philip Matkovsky.
“I’m sorry sir, I can’t comment on that,” Matkovsky said.
“Don’t veterans have a right to know sir?” Gray asked.
Gray obtained internal VA documents that show three of the deaths occurred at the Augusta VA center.
But the VA refuses to say where other deaths and the 60 serious injuries took place.
“What are the hospitals so the veterans can be informed where they should go for the best medical care?” Gray asked Matkovsky.
Gray went on to ask the VA official about whether or not veterans would continue to feel safe about the care they get despite the cover up.
“As the operational director, do you feel that veterans should feel confident they’re getting the treatment they need?” Gray asked Matkovsky.
“I do feel confident they’re getting the treatment they need,” Matkovsky answered.
“Do you feel like if you go in and need a screening now I’ll get it?” Gray asked.
“I do,” Matkovsky said.
No surprises at all. I have several issues going on, but the one that a friend finally got me to go to the VA Hospital in Dallas. I had talked to the hotline for suicide. I will first state, I know for a fact a copy of my active duty medical records to the reserves, yet it has disappeared? I went because I was having nightmares of a door I thought I locked up tight 32 years ago. First, I get screamed at, I am pretty fragile, told to go there to get screamed at? They put us in a private room, the doctor came in stated he would be in shortly, well now after being yelled, I wanted to leave. We got up and headed for the door when a male nurse came up and stated don’t leave. My friend, who was a military officer, got nose to nose with person who screamed at me. I have PTSD and MST two counts. I went to what I thought was going to help, no, basically drugs, a social worker that took my story. Now as far as treatment, “no men.” Well, I get a call that they felt important to start in this small group, but two men. I couldn’t handle it. Then a type of therapy that they did not follow protocol, I know it, I studied it, and you can’t not discuss your nightmares and forget them and play “Shiny Happy People.” Meanwhile, after an accident that I cannot remember because of a new phase of Fibromyalgia called “Fog,” actually cognitive ability and my friends & family know, I do ” circle talk.” My back started to decline late summer and fall it kept getting worse. Because of three back surgeries, I had worked hard to be better, loose weight, could wear 5″ heals. Now, I cannot. I go to the Emergency Room, mind you, I worked in an ER, CCU, ICU & telemetry on the outside civilian, in the military anxious to learn, even with my door of emotions locked away, but did request to terminate my shore duty. If I feel it is serious, then it is serious. After four or five days of no sleep, in the fetal position, car ride killer, I get yelled at AGAIN by a doctor! This place was dead quiet, I am not “drug seeking” I know something is wrong. They gave me a shot, did nothing, told make an appointment at a clinic. Well, talk about needed someone to show what I found missing is called “A New Patient History.” She starts giving me a diagnoses and I kept giving clues, I think she needs to flip burgers. Many times I went, and this is exactly how a nurse spoke to me, “why are you here again?” Seen by different doctors, and I am getting mad. All I want is a consult to neurology or ortho spine doctor. Constantly moved in positions that were painful, that would lead to my thinking not working, day, time basics even eating. Well, they wanted me to sign a pain management agreement, this doctor read it off, I signed it, and my husband stated “this is a one sided agreement, where is the part that you are responsible if something happens, seizure, stroke or death, and you can bet myself and her children will be here to sue, I want a copy of it. We went downstairs and we got a copy of all my records. “LIES LIES LIES!” I was increasing my medication for years, wrong, other way around, it was right in front of you with the DPS record for one year. Where was the truth? In the fall as my pain level increased, yes, I did increase, but never to the maximum dosage I was allowed. They don’t pay attention to the radiologists who stated would be beneficial to have a CT-Scan with contrast not just without. Yes, I stated I would call my Congressman VA rep, told him, I hadn’t signed a release for them yet, good thing, because a medical record is a legal document, and now I have two witnesses to the treatment and behaviors of this VA. I am highlighting every portion that is incorrect. And they keep giving me what my own Doctor called “Vicks Vapor Rub in a Gel” as he laughed, and asked how does this work on nerve and bones? Also, a heating pad, I stated I do not need one I have four at home. Ignored, they mail it. After my last appointment where I had to sign and this woman played twister to my body, next day of course tons of pain, but something new. My brain sends a message to my good leg, the left one, which I use to stabilize, it didn’t work. I had a save by gripping my bed, then get my nerve damaged leg out of the bed, get my cane so I can walk. Now the doctor who thinks I am addicted, because my brain is, well gee, if that were the case, how did I manage without it for almost 2 months? He recommended physical therapy, no way. Not after that incident have anyone touch me! A TENS unit too, nope, not happening, they only make pain worse. Then pain management, okay, I truly think pain management is a scam. I had seen a total of 7 of these, three before my 3rd surgery, drugs, your doctor did a great job, yeah, um that is why I ended up get me in fast third surgery. This record states no proof of a back surgery ( what do we call those incisions?) to four back surgeries. BIG PROBLEM THIS IS WHY YOU DO A NEW PATIENT HISTORY! If I was “drug seeking” there would be a pattern of different doctors, different pharmacies, I know the games patients play. I have no reason to lie, and I don’t lie especially when I know something is terribly wrong, which interesting to note, a radiologist stated thoracic region an anomaly ( hint, yes, I feel that part as well, not always, but it’s doing something in there!) he doesn’t give the exact location, which he should, but states it could be the position.
Besides the fact that this happened in the Navy and that is one of three pieces of paper I had for a medical record, it is stated as well “DVA.” I exercised, I didn’t want the Motrin candy, I didn’t make a point to worry about a pain that was constant, but gave out when I turned 40. If they think I was “drug seeker” I had been on so many heavy drugs, and took myself off of. Tylenol is not good for the kidney’s or your liver, so I always was careful. Now addicted to anything? Yes, don’t touch my medications for my bad leg!
I am half way through my record from the VA. But I also have to deal with the PTSD & MST issues. And I want one on one counseling, it is a must have to move forward. Right now, 99% of my day is in a bed. Between pain and the dreams from my past, even with sleep medications, my sleep is around 3-4 hours a night. Lucky if I get to sleep during the day.
There is nothing worse than to be a fragile person, be yelled at, tossed back and forth between clinics, and yelled at some more. I am just a Veteran, who is not seeking “drugs” but the proper testing by a professional who knows the tests needed. I need to have the professional help, to deal with that young 18 year old that went through some horrific events, and speak about it. You cannot tell a person don’t talk about it, we are going to pretend that doesn’t matter, and do a cognitive therapy not following protocol doesn’t make a healthy mind. It is a guarantee that you will have your job and “repeat business.” My issues of being fragile, it has affected 32 years of my ability to function like a normal person. I noticed late fall depression, goes away, then hits again late spring. I don’t understand how any VA Hospital or Some of their Clinics, decided that “we, who served and would put our lives on the line,” are now there to “service them and take verbal abuse, called a liar, and write lies in a record that is a legal medical document.” Trust me, mine WILL BE CHANGED, and after going to Fort Worth Clinic, I wish to see a doctor there, because the people acted like professionals.
I am one of many in this country who are being treated the exact same way. I know this because it is a thing of numerous groups on Facebook that are speaking about it.
It is a shame that we have people who don’t act professional and treat those who have served with disrespect.
When I say “fragile” I mean each day every day my thoughts stray to suicide might be the answer, but look at my granddaughter who I haven’t seen in a year and a half, my own children, and my dog. It doesn’t stop the thoughts, but I do have a very difficult time remembering discussions, and I truly think my brain is in self preservation mode. Severe pain, and I am so sensitive to medications, lost over 120 pounds, because I wanted to be me again. Thanks to this antidepressant yup, here came the weight. My husband tries to make sure I have eaten, he also stressed to several doctors, you’re basically stating her life is going to be in a bed? He stated, “I deal with facts, she doesn’t wish to be in a bed, but active, and she fought hard to be.
Your mind, it needs to be healthy, this is for anyone who has gone through issues such as myself. I saw again, Fort Hood a guy who shot killed and wounded many then turned the gun on himself. I will tell you, it doesn’t matter if you were in a place one day or 20 years, I bet you he had PTSD. And the President who I keep writing, I feel he isn’t getting it. PTSD you can be a ticking time bomb, to others, to yourself.
When you’ve had an injury to your person, but didn’t run to the VA and get a disability rating, some of us believe exercise and being active will help. But when it fell apart, my hair turned grey in one year, medications thinned it out. And to have them call you and convince you to do your back claim separately, I knew within two weeks, denied. Go figure.
I’ve been a strong person who had a wall and didn’t let others know that part. But one friend, suspected, told her story, it made me open up. Now three women in my life, not family, know my secrets, noticed how much more fragile I have become less than I was.
The Veterans System needs a major overhaul, get rid of these people who are not acting professional, and keep the promise. I know this is a long story, and this is only part of it, but, I wasn’t given counseling at 18 years old, just asked if I wanted out. If “we the veterans” could be heard from collectively, and I do mean as many as possible, then maybe, we could get decent service, more inspections done of these places, and stop the lies. “Drug Seeking” my backside! No, I am looking for a real Doctor, so call it “DOCTOR SEEKING PLEASE!”
He looks just like Jonah Czerwinski – acts like him too. Something about those Belt Boys – they are all identical in nature. This guy is a Dr. however.
Hey friends, here’s some older interesting little articles that won’t make you laugh. Pretty conniving schemes, hah? Watchdogs?
STATE VA FRAUD, WASTE AND ABUSE
« on: May 14, 2012, 06:24:10 pm »
VA Fraud Waste & Abuse
Little Rock AR – The director of a state veterans home is out after it was revealed she took more than half-a-million dollars from veterans. The Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs started investigating Little Rock home administrator Janet Levine in APR. Spokesperson Kendall Thornton says the agency was acting on complaints from employees at the home in Little Rock. KARK 4 News knocked on the door of Levine’s state-leased home, next to the veterans home. But Levine slammed the door when asked if wanted to talk. Thornton says former administrator collected an extra $587,000 in fees from 19 veterans over three years. The money was paid out of pocket. The investigation, however, didn’t find any evidence Levine spent the money on herself, but put it into the home’s general fund. Was it an accident, or misunderstanding, on Levine’s part? “We don’t believe so,” Thornton said. It wasn’t just money. Agency employees also found Levine took resources intended for veterans for her own personal use, including diabetes supplies and an electric wheelchair. Levine also had family members living in her agency- provided home, a violation of her lease agreement. And employees didn’t like the way she treated them. “I think that she just created an unfriendly environment that made it uncomfortable for them at the workplace,” Thornton said. It’s possible Levine didn’t break the law. Representatives from both the Little Rock and Arkansas State Police departments say they are not investigating the case, but Thornton says the state is liable for the former administrator’s actions. The agency is working to return the nearly $600,000 Levine took from veterans. Levine does have the option to appeal her firing, but has yet to do so. [Source: ArkansasMatters.com Adam Rodriguez article 27 Apr 2012 ++]
St. Louis MO – Joseph Madlinger, 71, a retired civil engineer was sentenced 8 MAY to two years in federal prison and fined $50,000 for bribing a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs official with cash, baseball tickets and strip club lunches to steer business to a company that used a disabled veteran as figurehead. He pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge in February and admitted helping establish a company called CJMS Contracting LLC, with a service-disabled veteran named James Browdy at its helm. CJMS was designed to win contracts that were supposed to go to disabled veterans, but prosecutors said Browdy was simply acting as a “rent-a-vet” and played no role in the company. CJMS was a shell, and the real work was done by a St. Louis County company called Gateway Contractors, run by Michael Woodling. The bribes went to Russell Todd, who was chief of projects or chief engineer at a VA hospital in St. Louis and also played a role at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. He is now retired. In 2007-10, the conspiracy won about $3.4 million worth of work, earning $500,000 in profit for Gateway. Madlinger and Browdy received roughly $300,000 from CJMS, and Madlinger got about $750,000 from Gateway, prosecutors said. “He cashed in big time. He cashed in more than anyone else in this scheme,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Albus said of Madlinger. Russell Todd, of Chesterfield, and Woodling, of Fenton, have also pleaded guilty and await sentencing. Roughly $1.5 million was forfeited by Woodling and will be used to pay restitution, Albus said.
[Source: St. Louis Post dispatch Robert Patrick article 8 May 2012 ++]
Ed, you are right. It’s like Internal Affairs police investigating the police, which is why we have the term “police corruption”. No organization can investigate itself without it being a conflict of interest, especially if they all answer to the same leader. The VA absolutely investigates itself. The VA is a bigger disaster than any other agency because even when another federal agency investigates them, and then orders corrections, they have learned there is no consequence for them ignoring their orders.
THE VA IS A PART OF THE GOVT THAT HAS THE “POWER/RIGHT” TO TELL THE PUBLIC IT SERVES WHATEVER IS CONVENIENT TO SOOTHE THE OPINIONS OF THE “WATCHDOGS”, WHO INCIDENTLY WORK FOR THE GOVT THAT THE VA IS A PART OF. IF IT SOUNDS CONFUSING, BELIEVE ME, IT CONFUSES ME. HOW CAN I LOOK OUT FOR YOUR INTEREST, BY OVERSEEING MY “ILLEGAL” ACTIONS AGAINST YOU. WHOSE INTEREST DO YOU REALLY THINK I HAVE AT HEART ?
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