Tuesday, May 13, 2008

VBMC - TO BE HELD CRIMINALLY NEGLIGENT FOR ITS CONTEMPT OF ITS PATIENTS

I hate to repeat my concerns with Valley Baptist Medical Center Harlingen, but I do have an update. I will be suing them. There is an issue of actual damages, but the issue is too important to let go. I will urge my theories as to actual damages and let the system decide from there. A lawsuit is the only way to hold them accountable. I have had more than one doctor confirm for me the only reason I am alive today is because I was aggressive about my own healthcare. To allow VBMC to go unpunished would simply be wrong.

Here is the deal. The VA paid for a series of cardiovascular tests. A host of problems were identified. You should understand both my mother and a sister died from sudden death related to the cardiovascular system within hours of being declared to have perfectly normal cardiovascular systems. Another sister dropped at work from a heart attack within 24 hours of her cardiovascular testing being perfectly normal.

My medical records clearly show I have brain induced sleep apnea. I sleep with forced air to keep me alive. Without my CPAP machine, I wake up choking for air. It is not unusual for people with sleep apnea to also have sinus bradycardia. The latter is a low heart rate. We know from extensive testing it is always a challenge to get my heart rate up during a stress test.

YOU DO NOT PRESCRIBE beta blockers to someone with bradycardia. They can lower your heart rate to the point of death. The cardiologist at the VA San Antonio prescribed beta blockers and statins to name two of the things he prescribed. As my primary care physician wrote back to him, my medical records clearly indicate I cannot take statins. Also you do not prescribe statins to someone with myofascitis. This moron of a cardiologist clearly never looked at my records. My doctor made it clear I will remain on Zetia. (Yesterday the VA gave me all of the notes back and forth between my primary care physician and cardiology)

Before anyone had copies of the medical test results from VBMC, the cardiologist was already prescribing medication based on my family history of sudden death and the TIA I had in march. Later this month I will undergo carpal tunnel surgery on my left hand. After I learned I had a blocked artery which feeds the left arm I called the surgeon. His nurse called me back to tell me the surgeon wanted the subclavian steal fixed before the carpal tunnel surgery.

It was at this point I learned the cardiovascular reports were never sent to VA SA. Based on my phone call VBMC refused to release the reports to VA SA, because I only signed a release for VA Harlingen. I wanted to review the reports with the doctors in SA while I was in SA, but VBMC would not release the reports. That afternoon at 3:30 I arrived at VBMC and signed the release so that they could be faxed to VA SA. The next day I confirmed with the secretary for cardiology that Dr. Olivaros, a staff cardiologist, had the reports. This is when he prescribed the beta blockers.

One thing led to another and I was forced to go see my primary care physician after playing phone tag with her for a couple of days. This is when I learned that VBMC never sent the test results to VA Harlingen. I met with my primary care physician about the recommendations of the cardiologist. The first two things she noticed was he was prescribing statins when it was so clear in my medical records I cannot take statins. Second he prescribed aspirin, when my medical records indicated I was already taking aspirin. (The VA has a specific screen which lists all medications you are taking and cannot take)

At this point I knew my primary care physician was concerned with the recommendations of the cardiologist. I decided before I was going to take anything prescribed by this cardiologist I was going to get my hands on the test results. This is when I went across the street to VBMC. This is when I learned they never sent the test results to VA Harlingen, although they did send the bill.

Once I secured the medical records from VBMC and had them delivered directly to my primary care physician, the order for beta blockers never went through. She knew before I knew the incompetence of this cardiologist. Had I not done VBMC job and obtained the medical records for my doctor, the beta blockers could have killed me. My question is, how many other veterans have medical records with important information sitting at VBMC which have never been seen by their primary care physician? Has anyone already died because of VBMC incompetence?

Again I am posting this story in hopes attorneys discover it in a google search. VBMC needs to be held financially accountable for its criminal negligence. Remember, as I said before, it was over a year ago Larry Avila with the VA Harlingen was ordered to address the medical records problem with VBMC - nothing has been done.

Because the primary actors are federal employees I can bring a federal constitutional tort known as a Bivens action. The cardiologist, VBMC, the VA, the medical school in San Antonio and several administrators will be named in the Bivens action which will be filed in federal court in Washington DC. I want to be clear, I consider my primary care physician in VA Harlingen as the one who may have saved my life.

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