Monday, December 15, 2014


From then Acting VA Secretary Sloan B. Gibson, just before McDonald's c confirmation

"Interestingly, the very next day I went to visit the medical center in San Antonio. It was a whole different story:
  • Everywhere I looked, what I saw was excellence. Not only in the facility and the equipment, but in the people in the sparkle in their eyes and the spring in their step as they talked about the things they were doing to care for our Veterans.
  • When I met with the press later that afternoon, as I do at every one of these visits, I told them I wished every Veteran in America could have been standing by my side as I went through that center—because they would have been proud of what they saw"
Click for Full VA story

These comments about how great the VA is in San Antonio were made shortly after the administrator through emails blamed the non-existent radiologist in Harlingen for a mistake in the read of my cat scan.  The student radiologist whose work was never checked found the source of my pain was my non-existent gallbladder.  When I complained the Chief of the SA hospital blamed Harlingen which does not even have a radiologist.  I suffer horrible pain from the cystic duct which is in fact inflamed, not the gallbladder - but the VA will not even consider me seeing a surgeon until I am brought by ambulance to the hospital.

Good luck communicating problems to the Inspector General for the VA - the staff is rude and very clear they do not want to hear it.  McDonald has created several levels of Chinese walls around him so he is kept 100% in the dark.  He is not worth the time of day as an administrator. 

There have been times when I have been with my doctor where I just want to get up and leave and say "fuck it."  But I know she is brilliant and I know she is overwhelmed.  I know the bureaucrats are making it a living nightmare for the doctors and now the doctors are getting stressed which is causing doctor patient problems. I am just happy I am patient and am willing to allow the doctors to vent, when they need to.  I am not taking anything personal.

But the situation in Harlingen is going to implode.  A person who helps veterans with their medical records is getting low reviews - why? she spends all day dealing with the line of veterans outside her door.  She can solve just about any problem imaginable. She is well regarded by the medical staff.

But veterans who call in cannot get through because her choice is to stop helping the veterans lined up outside her door, or to help the veterans who are calling in.  She cannot do both.  The VA has not given her voicemail. So to cover their own pathetic butts the Harlingen administrators give her low reviews rather then tell the truth that they are understaffed.

I just tossed a review the VA wanted me to complete about the quality of healthcare in Harlingen.  It was clearly written by non medical administrators to force the veterans to blame the doctors for everything.  I refused - so I tossed it.  In fact at one point it was just outright misleading with the series of questions.  Further if you had seen multiple specialists one being great the other being bad you had to rate them together - just how stupid and worthless is that?

The doctors get bad reviews if they do not see the veteran within 15 minutes of the scheduled appointment.  You know what, I will wait 8 hour to see my doctor because I know she is brilliant and will do her best within the nightmare system to attend to my needs.

Someone  tell me, if a patient comes in and the doctor hears something possibly wrong with a veteran's heart what is she suppose to do? - "times up the alarm went off [yes they have them on alarms to say when the appointment is done] see you in 6 months if you have not died of a heart attack before then.

There are times every day where the doctors have to do emergency care which gets them behind.  If a veteran with chest pain walks in is the doctor to say - "you have to wait to be the last patient or , should she see the patient and order an EKG, standard blood work for chest pain symptoms , and then have them placed in a room on a monitor while she awaits the results.

Every day doctors have to stop what they are doing to make arrangements for veterans to be transferred across the street to Valley Baptist for emergency care.

This 15 minute rule is a rule written by ignorant administrators who know nothing about quality medicine.  The veterans who sit there and complaint are no better.  They want to be seen now, but will complain if the doctor rushes.  You cannot have it both ways.

I should not feel like shit because my doctor has to do extra paperwork to deal with my secondary hypogonadism caused by a defect in the hypothalamus pituitary gland axis.  Washington is the one who forces her hand to do the extra paperwork which keeps her there until 8 or 9 at night.

Nothing is changing and as money becomes available I am seeking outside care.  Last time I felt so bad after the alarm went off and the appointment went for another 30 minutes so she could do the paperwork I decided I was never going back.  I will go back, but I should not be made to feel bad because Washington is imposing a million rules on the doctors to treat anything which is not considered standard.

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