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VA Medical Malpractice: Veteran Cries Discrimination

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Portland, ORNot only does Arthur believe that his VA doctor is guilty of VA medical malpractice after a botched surgery, he also accuses the VA hospital (and the federal government) of discriminating against Korean and Vietnam veterans.

"It all started several years ago when I had micro-surgery to treat a Hiatal hernia," says Arthur. (This type of hernia is a condition in which a portion of the stomach protrudes upward into the chest, through an opening in the diaphragm.) The VA doctors told Arthur that they could stop his acid reflux problem by micro-surgery that involved removing a piece of his stomach and making another esophagus. "But during surgery, they accidentally cut a nerve on the side of my stomach that produces the acid that starts the digestion process; they also lost a needle in my stomach during surgery."

According to Arthur, he was the first person to undergo this kind of microsurgery procedure at the VA hospital up on the hill in Portland. "I think I was a guinea pig and they didn't tell me about their mistakes until I had the big surgery—the second one," he explains.

"A few months after the surgery I was getting swollen and very sick. I had more x-rays, including one where you eat radiated scrambled eggs and they watch it digest. Well it didn't digest and that meant another surgery. This time they took out a chunk of food the size of a softball, and opened up the bottom flap of my stomach, so I digested straight into my bowel from then on. And I still am.

"The doctor came into my room a few days after this second surgery and explained what happened and why it was necessary—because of the mistakes that happened during the first surgery. I don't think they knew the nerve had been cut until I was in the operating room—the only thing they were certain of was the lost needle, which he told me not to worry about because I would digest it in my bowels. It sounds crazy but this is all documented in my medical records...

"And now I have another problem: I just had yet another surgery to stretch my esophagus because I was having a hard time swallowing. They scoped me during that surgery and accidentally cut a nerve that controls the stomach, bowel, small and large intestine that moves the food along. Now, none of the signals are reaching the stomach etc. to move the digestion along.

"The doctor told me—and my girlfriend was there so she can back up this statement—that I was "plain f**ked." I have lost over 50 lbs in the last few months. I can barely eat, I can't do anything. And now my doctor is avoiding me so I don't know what to do.

"Naturally I have to be very careful about my diet, but no matter how careful, I go through 'serious dump syndrome': When I go to the bathroom it hurts so much that I literally black out sometimes. In the last 45 days I have been to ER twice at the VA hospital because of this problem. Unfortunately I have no choice: because I'm a disabled veteran I have to go to the VA hospital.

"Last Wednesday I had the radiated egg x-ray again and still haven't got the results. I'm sitting here wondering what the heck I'm supposed to do next; I'm just getting sicker and weaker. I haven't even had an apology, which is no surprise.

"I even had problems getting my meds for acid reflux, stomach cramps and bloating, and pain meds from the nerve damage. My prescriptions are sent by mail because I am housebound but sometimes they are days late. And I only get to see my doctor about once a year—that's the way they treat veterans.

"When I returned from Vietnam, I used to get really good care. I was injured over there and suffered very bad back problems so I collected disability benefits. The nurses were really good to everyone. But now that we have all the new vets coming back from overseas, they are being more sensationalized—they are taken care of first. The Korean and Vietnam vets are set aside while the new guys get special treatment—that's the way I see it anyway. I am a typical example of someone being discriminated against.

"I would like to find out what I can do about my condition because I know it is wrong: someone has to stand up sooner or later…"


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Posted by

I've been out of work for over a year with no benefits or income of any kind which caused depression a high level of stress and anxiety attacks that are so severe I have back pain. Over 3 weeks, I've asked for therapy 9 times, 7 through the suicide prevention line and 2 to other sources. Each time, they tell me a counselor will contact me within 24 hours. No one has called. 3 times I contacted my assigned psychiatrist and requested a call back over two weeks. No calls were returned. During the 4th attempt, I had an anxiety attack and they put someone who acted like a counselor but wasn't a counselor. They asked very personal questions and I wouldn't answer because I had no idea who this person was.
Finally, 3 hours later, the psychiatrist called me. She was very defensive and scolded me, claiming that she calls patients back and I let her know it was okay, the operator must have not sent the message. Then she told me that I had too high of standards and that I need to fill out the homeless voucher because I would be homeless soon. I'm getting close, but have many options to stay in my home and I explained that when she went right back to defending her call back abilities. I lost it and had an anxiety attack that led to me screaming at her then hung up.
The patient advocate was contacted but didn't answer, I left a message, this is SOP for VA employees. I waited 24 hours and did it again and left another message. Then I found her boss and called him. 2 minutes after hanging up she called. She said I had to sign a document as part of the complaint. I read it and it excluded me from the investigation, review, and from my right to choose or change doctors. It also asserted the clinic would keep complaint doctors in place and assigned through complaints if the complaint was valid, serious or not. I didn't sign it. Was this the patient advocate, or was it the clinic advocate? Why would she be supporting this?
I call the suicide crisis every night, request a referral for a counselor and document it. I've asked for PTSD treatment until I gave up. The doctors wouldn't acknowledge that they could even hear me and wouldn't talk about it. But that's all okay, and no therapist or counselor have called yet. This will all be a part of the lawsuit that I'm up late studying lawsuits against the VA and searching for attorneys to represent me.
I'm not sure why veterans are treated like children and like my psychiatrist did by belittling me, treating me with disrespect, and scolding me like a bad kid. So why can't a counselor be determined as needed by the veteran, chosen by them, and called directly to schedule the appointment as civilian adults do? Why do they need to have someone hold the power and access to their care that they know when they need and who will provide it best? My thoughts are that the 17 veterans who commit suicide daily, many are those who were made to feel worthless by the VA staff. The reason that number is that high is that we have the VA in common and, like myself, we avoid addressing healthcare needs because of the disrespectful way we are treated by the doctors and VA staff. My own story is that my depression over the three weeks I've tried to therapy has slipped down and is suicidal now, I'm safe for now.

Posted by

Fiduciary program is one of the benefits provided benefit by US Veterans Affairs to Veterans, Active Service, their Spouses and minor and or disabled children. Without a doubt, anyone would trust this program is for your best interest offered by the VA and the term of " Fiduciary", well , it is not , they are Conservators whose main intention is financially motivated. You are forced if you have a real estate property, cash and all pension benefits.

It is a heartbreaking experience , distressful, painstaking ordeal that would forever change your life and your family. The VA pays the fiduciary fees, the SSA pay their services and obtained reverse mortgage to pay them selves and reimburse all the government benefits by selling your house immediately when you die. Families are left homeless , the court system protects them , self police disciplinary non-actions by bureaus who suppose to protect you from criminal acts committed. I encourage everyone to search, to be informed , prepare and alert , in case they lurk around in the hospital , referred by the Adult Protection Agent and VA Social workers who would conspire, declares false statements and demonized the family to confiscate your properties.
Even your lawyers would breached their duties for self interest. NO Law enforcements had investigated my criminal reports. Conservators are above the Law. Thank you.

Posted by

I asked for legal assistance in March-it's NOW August yet not one of the legal beagles have bothered to contact me. One asked for information,I sent it,I never heard back from him.
If the VA ADMINISTRATION has no accountability,why do we think anyone cares about us? Right now,I know I have a case for delayed diagnosis/misdiagnosis x38 years.Do you really think the VA ADMINISTRATION will admit to this. Yes,I have proof.because I approached the director,NOW I'm being discriminated against. All my former diagnosis are being re-decided. In spite of records verifying the truth. My medication is being terminated yet the medicine I'm offered I can't take. So,I will get zero order to just force the medicine I have to take according to the physicians I've had a different diagnosis given.
Peripheral neuropathy,a knee injury due to have surgery for total replacement(cancelled) RLS, hyperparathyroidsm,and pernicious anemia. ALL cause major chronic pain.I've been on the same regime x 14 yrs.NOW,the pain clinic Dr decided I don't have any of these issues-just his hypochondriac fibromyalgia/he insisted Lyrica,I can't take it my throat closes.if I don't I'm in non-compliance.Also,I'll get no medicine after 14+years for legitimate issues.
Why won't the legal system help the Vietnam Era,and war veterans?
We never got handed a horse to ride or a surf board.just crap!!you guys had it bad, I know I took care of you when you came back.

Posted by

It never ceases to amaze me that as the different theatres come home wounded and dysfunctional,we who are only 1% of all Americans willing to serve and defend,even to death,are so little considered to really be Americans,true patriots.There was a time when veterans were treated with respect and care from geniune medical professionals mattered;however,when staff can curse dementia patients,ignore needs/requests go unaddressed..those who cared have retired taking compassion with them,and the new breed of medical people come bringing arrogance,apathy and attitudes.Having both seen how older veterans are treated,and having also been cursed by staff,labeled and both emotionally,verbally and yes,sexually abused..but of course it's my word against's okay to curse me,yet had I even raised my voice,security can automatically fine me a Federal fine(which stays on your record)with spo many physicians that can work at the Veterans Hospital without being board certified,we tend to be just objects for trial and error health care.I believe that we've been so beat down fearing to take a stand for integrity,we have become nothing more than the new generation medical staffs specimen on a Petri dish.Why is it acceptable to punish people for being in need.I've watched the slow demise of health care become no more than electronic bypass to avoid having face to face contact with people.check in by machine,request needs over secure message(which is not secure-there's no longer patient doctor confidentiality) check out by machine,take a number at lab and pharmacy.typed letters,computerized phone reminders.WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO HUMAN INTERACTION,COMPASSION AND EMPATHY? THE NEW Veteran isn't called a veteran but a wounded warrior.lavish therapy is handed to them,do you think had VIETNAM veteran,Korean veterans been given half this,would they have become homeless.Even to homeless veterans have their own clinic,some can get better treatment than the 100%t/p. This scenario just seems wrong.No veteran should be exalted above his brothers;it affects Espree de Cour.coming together for one purpose,United.

Posted by

The VA Health care systems in Portland OR and Southwest Washington really need to work on there customer service, provide to correct and need treatments and remember that it wasn't the Soldiers, Airman, Sailor and Marines fault that they are sick. That is the law that if the Service Member has a service connected injury the Veteran Health Administration must provide quality Health Care.
However, this is not a true fact in Portland Oregon.

It has taken the past eight years and some where around Fourteen Doctors later to find out what I was trying to tell them all along. I have now had three surgeries to try to provide me with some pain relief and two of these surgeries have been the past year. One from the Portland VA Hospital that I later found out the implant used was not needed, furthermore it took a NON VA Doctor to try to correct the issue and this procedure cost me little over 70k to correct the issue.

Our elected congress people need to start working together and keep our Government’s Agency accountable for their actions. INSTEAD OF WORRING ABOUT WHOMS PARTY WILL HAVE THE MAJORTY AND GET THE WORK COMPLETED THAT THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES HIRED THEM TO DO. DEED’S SHOW ACTION NOT FANCY WORDS…………..

PLEASE EMAIL ME @ and tell me your stories.

Posted by

I have a very similar problem where the knee surgeon in Palo Alto replaced my knee with a Zimmer NexGen knee with loads of recalls and a Zimmer rep in the OR to "help", but after spending a month in Palo Alto Hospital, then another month in Menlo Park Re-hab hospital afterwards, I went home and was treated like I wasn't rying to workout hard enough to help my extremely sore knee, so I would take more pain pills to be able to try to get through the therapy, but I would run out of pain pills and have to quit PT "5 times"! Now it's beenn 21 months and the pain is worse than ever and 4/5 doctors have said the Bone scan and they believe from exams and x-rays that the bone is lose from the prosthetc, and today my own private revision surgeon said it has to be either an infection or a lose Bone to Zimmer NexGen knee. So he drew fluid to check for infection and I took it to the VA today to be tested for infections. If it has an infection there will be a surgery to clean it out, but if it's lose (like it feels) the operation will be to replace theknee again! The VA wants me to drive while on morphine over 200 miles on morphine to have the same surgeon fix it, or just live with it. They told me today that a torte Claim with a Form 95 complaint for money would cause me to lose my medical benefits! So now I have to even try harder to find a lawyer to help me even more! I still don't know what the secret form 95 really is? The VA should just fix my knee without a stressfull legal fight just to get my knee fixed without losing my medical care! And they are supposed to give me special treatment for having PTSD and AGENT ORANGE, which is real and huts me more than helps me, they even use threats! No wonder so many Vets commit suicide. They can ruin me without even caring about any vets! & I can't even find a lawyer to get answers yet either. It's torture of Veterans by our own country!

Posted by

I had a similar experience at Minneapolis VA. Surgeon botched surgery on my ear and am now mostly deaf on that side. Surgeon ignored me for 18 months while I suffered. I lost my chance to sue because I did not know what was happening. Till this day no VA will look at my ear problem. If I need surgery for anything now, it is done outside the VA system. I find it also rather odd that doctors at the VA do not need to be certified or licensed in the state they work in. IN other words they can go and get a medical degree and certification from any third world entity and the butcher as he sees fit. Great system.

Posted by

same happening to many vets best of luck. though try suing hhhhhaaaa yea right. vietnam and korea are on the back slide just like the new guys and women will be in 20 yrs


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