Tag Archives: veterans

To MD or not to MD

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So…I was reading this article over at DisabledVeterans.org:

Clinical Pharmacists Now Handle Primary Care For Veterans Affairs

http://www.disabledveterans.org/2016/10/26/clinical-pharmacists-now-handle-primary-care-for-veterans-affairs/#comment-30040

I decided I would ask a Professional Nurse what they thought about it.

My niece is a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner at Princeton Baptist Medical Center and a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner at UAB Critical Care Transport.

Here’s  a transcript of my comment and our interaction:

My comment:

I’m all FOR increased access but NOT AT THE COST OF REDUCED QUALITY OF CARE…No Pharmacist has the training of an MD. That’s why they have a

No Pharmacist has the training of an MD. That’s why they have a PHD after their name instead of an MD…

I love nurses…

They’re great people and those that go into the field usually do so from the standpoint of caring for their patients.

My niece is a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner at Princeton Baptist Medical Center and Neonatal Nurse Practitioner at UAB Critical Care Transport.

She transports critical care infants (usually in a helicopter ) and is eminently qualified for her job (getting critical infants to a place where they can be better treated than where they are..)

As a matter of fact, I would bet that most of the MDs that she is transporting kids too would flounder in the high-pressure atmosphere she operates in…(no pun intended ) She’s GREAT at keeping kids alive till they get where they need to be…HOWEVER, She’s still not an MD…

When she gets the kids to UAB Hospital, their care is turned over to an MD who specializes in Pediatric care ( probably assisted by other Pediatric Nurses that specialize in in-house care…) I sent her a link to this discussion and here was our interaction…

Continue reading To MD or not to MD

Barry Coates dead; 46-year-old veteran was face of the VA scandal over delays in care

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POSTED 2:15 PM, JANUARY 27, 2016, BY

Barry Coates dead…..

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Witness Testimony of Barry Coates, Veteran

My name is Barry Lynn Coates and due to the inadequate and lack of follow up care I received through the VA system, I stand before you terminally ill today. I joined the Army in February of 1991 anxious to serve my country. Near the end of basic training an injury to my back derailed those plans and I was discharged around the first of May that same year.

After a five year fight to obtain service connection status for my injury and the treatment and pain management required as a result of it, I finally became eligible for medical treatment through the VA system. That was the start of the long, painful, emotional, and unnecessary journey that brings me to you.

On November 22, 2010 severe abdominal pain sent me to Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center in Hartsville SC, where a spinal CT showed that my lungs were clear and my liver were normal however, there was blood seen in the stool so a follow-up was recommended and consideration of a colonoscopy was suggested. That follow-up recommendation was completed at the Rock Hill Clinic with Dr. Anuradha Verma on January 20, 2011. No rectal exam was done, I was basically told to continue taking my medications previously prescribed and to come back if things did not improve or things got worse.

Due to increased pain and constipation, on February 25, 2011 I requested to be seen by a doctor or to be referred to a GI Specialist. I saw Dr. Verma again on March 3, 2011 because of increased pain and rectal bleeding. I reminded her of the suggestion made by the ER doctor that a colonoscopy might be needed. I was sent home with hemorrhoidal suppositories and the promise that a colonoscopy might be done at some point. I was not seen until May of 2011 and the results were the same.

I had relocated in October 2010 but had to continued to be seen at the Rock Hill, SC Clinic due to the back log at the Florence, SC Clinic. I was first seen by Dr. Eric Naumann at the Florence Clinic in June 2011. He started by putting me on 100 mg of the stool softener “Docusate” in order to counteract the constipation caused by narcotics necessary to treat the ongoing back pain to my previous injury. He also expressed dismay that this had not be done previously. Most importantly, he agreed that a colonoscopy needed to be done.

However my first GI consult did  not occur until August 2011 with Dr. Sylvia Kim. I informed Dr. Kim of the ongoing pain, constipation, and bloody stools that I had been dealing with for over a year only to repeatedly have it dismissed as hemorrhoids. I was simply told to return in two months, still no referral for colonoscopy despite my request. In a conversation with Andy Pigge, Rn at the Florence Clinic, I made it known that my requests were being ignored and I felt it was jeopardizing my health.

On September 1, 2011 after ample time on the Docusate I sent Dr. Naumann  a message via my healthyvet.com informing him that I was still bleeding every bowel movement and still experiencing pain. As of September 15, 2011 I began having trouble urinating in addition to the other problems and only found some relief sitting in warm water. Dr. Naumann was informed of these new symptoms at this time. He stated that I may need to see a surgeon and may need to be considered for a colonoscopy. Dr. Naumann requested for the second time a colonoscopy October 4, 2011.

I saw Dr. Kim October 12, 2011 and told her that the pain was now constant as well as the rectal bleeding and that my stools have become smaller and bright red in color. I was finally scheduled to have a colonoscopy consultation in April of 2012, which would be approximately a year and a half after the beginning of this journey.

Tired of living in constant pain and knowing that my problems were bigger than hemorrhoids, I persistently called on the chance that there might be an earlier opening or cancellation. I was able to secure an opening for consultation appointment for November 30, 2011 and finally had the colonoscopy done December 9, 2011. The procedure was done at the Fort Jackson Hospital by Dr. Steedman Sarbah which found that I had a 5.5 mm nodule located six to eight centimeters from the anal verge with almost total luminal obstruction. I was diagnosed with stage four colon rectal cancer. Further tests revealed metastatic nodules on the right lung in the upper lobe along with liver lesions. It was stated that because of the post proximity of the nodules to anal verge a proper rectal exam would have easily found it and prompted treatment sooner.

I saw Dr. Kim days later on the 14 of December 2012 and expressed to her sentiments of the doctor that performed the colonoscopy along with my own that a doctor should take time to listen to her patients as they know their bodies and can often sense when something is wrong. After “supposedly” not being able to feel the tumor during prior exam after seeing the images she was suddenly able to locate it easily.

I had surgery on December 16, 2012 for a post diverting loop colostomy and started chemotherapy in January of 2012 followed by 26 radiation treatments. The tumor was removed July 22, 2012 with a total anal recession. I have since had to endure a permanent colostomy which requires multiple bag changes per day along with catherization several times daily because of the bladder nerves being severed in order to remove the tumor. I am totally and permanently impotent as well as incontinent. The extensive chemotherapy has resulted in permanent neuropathy in both my hands and feet causing constant discomfort and pain.

A follow up exam on April 2, 2014 has shown even further spreading of cancer with new lesions on my liver, multiple new lesions on both lungs, plus growth of the existing lesions and a referral for a MRI as the doctor fears it may have spread to my brain. Another round of Chemotherapy would have been started immediately but was postponed so I would be able to come and speak to all of you.

It is likely too late for me, the gross negligence of my ongoing problems and crippling back log epidemic of the VA medical system has not only handed me a death sentence but ruined the quality of my life I have for the meantime. I am not here today for me, I am here to speak for those to come so that they might be spared the pain I have already endured and know that I have yet to face.

( Emphasis added by me)

My situation is made even more unnecessary knowing that a 1.2 million dollar grant was given to the Dorn VA Center to reduce backlog and improve care and treatment of veterans only to learn that the money was misallocated by diverting it to other uses instead of using it for the intended purpose. Only 1/3 of those funds were used properly.

Men and women across this country volunteer every day to serve in the armed forces. The fact that our military stays well-manned and strong solely on the willingness of those volunteers to risk to lives for the protection of the nation as a whole is truly awe-inspiring. Other nations have to force service in order to maintain a strong military.

( Emphasis added by me)

The very least this country should do is to ensure that those volunteers are taken care of after they have made sacrifices to take care of our country.

( Emphasis added by me)

I am not a unique case in the VA health care system as 19 others have already died and 60 more are in the same terminal status I am here because proper care was not given exams were not performed properly, and diagnostic tests were either postponed or not done at all.

In the civilian world, these doctors would face malpractice suits and medical review boards. As the saying goes “heads would roll.” In the VA system oversight is not as clear cut and complaints are often either lost or covered up by bureaucracy. So I ask you today, how many more vets will be allowed to suffer and die before someone is held accountable?

Coates,  who became the human face of the Veterans Affairs scandal over delays in care in 2014, died on Saturday of the cancer that wracked his body after waits for medical care at a VA facility. He was 46.

( Emphasis added by me)

 

Coates became a national figure representing delays in medical care at VA hospitals after he was featured prominently in a CNN investigation in January 2014.

The CNN investigation that included Coates was the first national story about delays in care across the country that year. It led to a national controversy resulting in the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, and ultimately a law that provided $16 billion to overhaul the Department of Veterans Affairs, passed by Congress and signed by President Obama.

After the CNN story about him, Coates was asked to testify before Congress about the delays in his medical care. When he got to Washington, Coates told lawmakers he had suffered for months, waiting for a simple medical procedure that might have saved his life.

Coates testified he was dying of cancer because the procedure was delayed at several VA facilities, including the William Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center in Columbia, South Carolina.

Leaving some lawmakers in tears and making national news again, Coates described in detail how he waited months, even begging for an appointment to have a colonoscopy. But he found himself on a growing list of veterans also waiting for appointments and procedures.

About a year after first complaining to his doctors of pain, Coates said, he was able to get a colonoscopy. Doctors discovered a cancerous tumor the size of a baseball. By then he had Stage 4 cancer, and it was only a matter of time before he was overtaken by the illness, he told lawmakers.

From his first interview, Coates, a simple but articulate man from rural South Carolina, spoke eloquently about how veterans should be treated better, and deserved more after all the sacrifices they had made for their country.

“Due to the inadequate and lack of follow-up care I received through the VA system, I stand before you terminally ill today,” Coates told members of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

The lawmakers who heard him testify were shaken by his description, and about the numerous deaths of other veterans outlined in CNN’s investigation.

“This is an outrage! This is an American disaster!” Rep. Jackie Walorski, an Indiana Republican, nearly screamed, her voice quavering, during that congressional hearing, in April 2014. “My dad was a veteran. He died of colon cancer,” she said, crying softly. “This is so personal to me.”

Coates remained friendly and kind, was never hostile, and even kept his humor as his illness progressed. Speaking with his down-home and polite country manner, the Army veteran had a remarkable ability to touch many people with his story.

Coates’ family said he died Saturday from the cancer that had been left untreated by the VA for so long. After his time in the national spotlight, Coates continued to rail against the VA and fight for veterans to get better treatment, continuing to speak with reporters and helping them understand the VA crisis and scandal as it unfolded.

Coates’ son, Shane, 23, on Wednesday described his father’s fight and how he remained committed to helping other veterans to the end.

“Everything they did at the VA was dragged out, it was never a quick appointment for anything,” Shane Coates said. “He had to wait so long to get any treatment. After what happened to him, he just wanted to fight for other veterans.”

“He wanted to show the world that when you go fight for your country, it’s not right that you come home and then you have to fight just to get basic medical treatment,” Shane Coates said. “The way they treated him, and other veterans, it’s just not the way any veteran should ever be treated. It’s just not right.”

Coates was buried Wednesday in Timrod, South Carolina, after a service at the Timrod Baptist Church. In addition to Shane, Coates is survived by his father, Barry Coates Sr.; his wife, Donna; his brother Randall; his sister Dawanna; and by four other children: Scotty, 25; Breanna, 24; Troy, 22; and Tyler, 16.

POSTED 2:15 PM, JANUARY 27, 2016, BY

The story of Dr Sam Foote….

http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/arizona/investigations/2014/05/31/va-scandal-whistleblower-sam-foote/9830057/?from=global&sessionKey=&autologin=

ARE YOU MAD ENOUGH TO DO SOMETHING YET?

I’m exploring the idea of creating a PAC  dealing only with Vet’s issues…Read about it here…

VETERAN’S POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE

1. Share this post with every Vet,   Vet family member, ALL your Facebook friends and other social media…

2. Sign up for the newsletter and encourage those you share with to do the same…( Newsletter is in infancy stage…I’m still learning to use it..)

3. Begin thinking of ways you personally would be willing to do to help ( Would you be willing to make a donation to the fund, be a recruiter, hold meetings at your house, put up a poster at your local VFW or DVA, Be a county , state or national officer? )

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NEW DEVELOPMENTS

There have been new developments in the ongoing VA scandal…Check these out:

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/381179/big-brother-watching-vets-michelle-malkin

http://www.bizpacreview.com/2014/06/28/va-hospitals-funded-420-million-panels-while-veterans-died-waiting-128343

http://www.koat.com/news/veteran-dies-waiting-for-ambulance-in-va-hospital-cafeteria/26779446?utm_source=hootsuite&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=koat

http://video.foxnews.com/v/3659423132001/war-hero-jr-martinez-on-impact-of-va-scandal/?intcmp=obinsite#sp=show-clips

Here’s an IDEA…The president is using executive orders to try and deal with the recent influx of unaccompanied children across our borders..Why not do the same thing to deal with the VA crisis?

I and many other Vets, all the Vets support groups such as The VFW and the DAV , the House and Senate have all called for immediate action…

The Senate and House bills will take time to resolve…

The problem is growing…

Why not use Executive Action  to achieve Immediate results?  We’re quick enough to take actions that send our troops into harms way…Why can’t we take immediate action to help them when they come home suffering from the consequences?

JUST SAYING…

AN OPEN LETTER TO ALABAMA CONGRESSMEN

I know that you are as angry as I am about the recent scandals rocking the VA…All of us also realize this is nothing new…

http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/23/politics/va-scandals-timeline/index.html?iid=article_sidebar

Since its’ inception, the VA has been riddled with corruption and incompetence…
Even when “investigations” and “Audits” were conducted, most of the findings were not reported to the public, efforts to resolve the problems were short circuited by the VA’s stonewalling and evasion of the issues, people installed to fix the problems were found to be just as corrupt and incompetent as the people they replaced… and the problem just goes on and on and on….

In my opinion, the main cause of the problem is that the VA was created in the image of a government that is as bloated, corrupt and incompetent as it is…

One of the main reasons that this has continued is the lack of an oversight that is independent of the VA. Investigators are asking the wrong people to find out what the problem is…They’re asking the VA…They should be asking the people who are directly affected, Veterans,  rather than the ones who are causing the problem…I have an idea that I think will at last get the real problems out into the light…

What about a problem reporting system operated by the Veterans themselves…reporting directly to the public, the president , congress and the press all at the same time…

I’m thinking about a group of websites, one for every VA facility (clinics, hospitals, VA offices, EVERYTHING THE VA DOES) Veterans who have a problem of any kind (or an idea of how to fix a problem ) could post it directly to the site…

I’m not talking about something like the huge website the VA runs at VA.gov…I’m talking about TRULY independent websites with links to each other, run by the Veterans themselves, open to anyone who wants to contribute his story or his experience or relate a problem…

You wouldn’t need a billion dollar effort like the rollout for the Affordable Care Act…Independent websites can be set up very cheaply or even for free…I know this because I’m setting up my own website now…http://donavantwebsites.com/…I’m betting that you could find thousands of volunteers to set up and man these sites…Sites would be supported by small start up business grants, small state grants, and contributions by site users

A contact card giving methods for reaching the website would be required on EVERY desk in the VA, from the Directors desk to every desk that a Veteran walks up in any facility…

These websites should be monitored by congressional members staff, The VA, a Presidential committee, the press, the public and anyone else who would be interested… IN REAL TIME… and REQUIRED READING for Department Heads in the area or facility they represent…No need for a lengthy expensive “investigation” to uncover a problem

No president or VA official or congressman would ever again be able to say “I didn’t know”…No VA official in any capacity would EVER AGAIN be able to hide his corruption and incompetence behind a VA stonewall…

This idea coupled with the immediate removal of civil service protections for any VA employee except for those directly providing services to a Veteran (in other words anyone in a supervisory position) would go a long way toward solving problems that Veterans are experiencing now…

Your opinion and input would be greatly appreciated…

Please feel free to contact your congressmen and let them know how you feel on this issue…If you would like to copy this article and send it to them, feel free…

CONTACT YOUR SENATORS HERE…http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVES HERE…http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

 

If you think this site is vital to help Vets get the support they need…If you think this site is vital to bringing the VA’s problems into the open…If you think this site needs to continue…If you are a Vet or have a family member that is or you will become a Vet, this site is important to you. You can help support this site by making a donation here….



You can also support this site by going the the store and purchasing Veteran related items…http://astore.amazon.com/donavantwebsi-20

Getting the word to as many as possible is VERY IMPORTANT…Pleaase share with anyone you know who is a Vet or has a family member that is…Pleae share with all you FB contacts.
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