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Posts tagged: Veterans Administration

A message from the battle front…

Good evening, Netizens…

I have done this in the past, and with the news from Bob Kirkpatrick, my friend, continually getting worse, he is contemplating ending his life with dignity rather than continue living it in pain and anguish. While I support his right to exercise that option, I will absolutely be horrified if nothing else can be done to help him.

For you see, I too hold the VA in contempt for the slip-shod manner in which they provide services to American heroes in their care. So I am enclosing Bob’s message to them  from on his blog in the hope that others will listen with their hearts and perhaps bring their combined leverage to bear on them. and I quote: 

To: Sharon Helman, Spokane VAMC

By bk

Dear Ms. Helman;

I am a 100% service connected Multiple Myeloma victim and I am dying. I am seeking a Washington physician to help me end my life under the state’s Initiative 1000 because I have absolutely no confidence in the VA’s ability to keep me cared for and as comfortable as circumstances permit. I do not want to die, but that choice has been taken from me by the Vietnam war and the VA.

I read your defense of the Spokane VAMC doctor(s) in reply to the Spokesman Review. You really missed the mark. All the best doctors in the world are useless if a patient cannot access them in a timely manner. With an average wait of six weeks to two months to get to see a doctor at the Spokane VAMC, and then the doctor has a maximum of 20 minutes to spend with the patient, the medical care you offer to patients like me is ridiculous. It is no better in the ER; my visits causing me waits of at least 4 hours and waits as long as 14 hours being the status quo. This is a horrendous abuse of cancer patients like me who cannot be exposed to a waiting room full of sick people for extended periods. I take pain medications every three hours and so waiting any longer than that means I am in excruciating pain for hours because I cannot get pain help until I see the doctor. This drives me out of the ER and back home where I can get access to my pain meds. Your policies do not permit patients to bring their own drugs to the ER so we are left defenseless. Even if I get the opportunity to see a doctor, they won’t provide enough pain medication to do the job. In spite of my medical record being available showing the level of morphine I take, they all provide only minimal (read:  ineffective) pain control. On top of it all, the people in ER reception are often rude and unswervingly uncaring about patient situation or discomfort; their attitude has literally driven me from the ER on one occasion.

The VA in Spokane is dismal, indeed…

Good morning, Netizens…

Because I know and love Bob, and have been following what I would term his descent into Hades courtesy of the Veteran’s Administration, and because what the VA is doing is both unethical if not immoral, this morning I am going to post Bob’s comments from his Blog, in the hopes that someone at the Veteran’s Administration will either read it or take action. That is because I am past disgusted; I am totally revulsed at what they have done to my friend.

And then, last night…

By bk

We interrupt the pleasant reminiscences to give an update on the Quality of Care the Spokane VA hospital provides.

Drawn again to the hospital by a tight chest, productive cough, intermittent chills and hot flashes, weakness and sleeping a lot; sounds like bronchitis to me and since that turns into pneumonia easily, I trudged, reluctantly to the Spokane VA. I got there at 9:40 pm and by 10:00 I had been triaged and sent up to x-ray for a chest view. I was impressed with the speed and efficiency and wondered what had changed to improve service so much.

It was a premature thought.

I was sent back to the waiting room where I sat until midnight. Then a lab tech showed up to finally take some blood. It took her two tries to get a vein. This is surprising because I have very prominent veins that stick out and don’t roll. But it took her two painful tries but she got the needed blood and mentioned that the lab results would be ready in an hour to an hour and a half. The charge nurse then commented it would probably be that long again before a doctor could see me. In other words, I and my wife would have to spend the night in the waiting room with no access to my pain meds which I need every three hours. Sitting 20 minutes in a waiting room habituated by sick people is a bad idea for a Myeloma victim’s dysfunctional immunity; six hours is reckless and besides, it causes me to miss two pain medication times leaving me in a lot of discomfort for that whole time.

I went home without help, told that I could call my medical team in the morning and they could get the lab results to the doctor so I could get the antibiotics I went there to get. so I call in the morning and they tell me they cannot do that and the earliest they can get me a doctors appointment is September.

That’s not unlike four weeks ago when my oncologist ordered his nurse to give me a sot of Demerol because the pain in my feet was so intense. The nurses refused and instead sent me to the ER who told me they could get me to a doctor for the shot in about 3 hours. I went home and took morphine and got relief 2 full hours before I’d have seen the doctor.

The quality of care at the Spokane VA has gotten atrocious and has reached the level of insult. The care given there is a slap in the face to those who gave and suffered so much with the promise of the best possible health care being abrogated by the VA.

I don’t understand why the people in the Spokane area are not outraged; how many of them have loved ones stuck in the failing system. It disappoints me that everyone ignores the situation, which only gets worse day by day.


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