Last year I urgently required medical care from the Tripler Veterans Administration Clinic near Honolulu, Hawaii. For two straight months was smothered by bureaucracy and sad to say the medical staff. You may read about my experience on Ron Miller’s blog, Roguedinosaur.com, archive, September 2015. It turned out to be a painful personal medical and financial disaster. I was never so humiliated in my life while I waited in severe pain for assistance. Meanwhile my experience is echoed in Sergeant Jeffords’ complaint summarized below.
When Marine Sgt. Michael Jeffords returned from Vietnam in 1966, he went to a Veterans Affairs hospital because he was having hearing problems after an IED exploded near him during combat. He says he had to wait a month before they would see him, then he had to jump through bureaucratic hoops just to prove his condition was authentic.
“I had to prove where I was, when it happened and how the incident occurred,” Jeffords said from his Janesville, Wisconsin home. “It’s kind of a frustrating experience because you think the government should know all this stuff.”
Jeffords, now 71, said that the VA health care he has received over the years has generally been good – but the system designed to administer that care leaves veterans feeling disrespected and demoralized. He said the current allegations of treatment delays, preventable deaths and falsified records at VA hospitals nationwide doesn’t surprise him.
Because I presently reside on Batam Island, Indonesia, and flew in at my own expense asking for care, was told the first day “We don’t want people running in here from all over asking for help, we have to attend to our procedures!” Yes, certainly they do, but at the expense of consistent acute pain of the authorized patient. This patient, me, visited the emergency room three times, and once called 911 for help within these two months waiting period and to see a doctor who would seriously address my acute knee pain while walking two inches at a time. I was a cripple.
Previously I have received excellent care at the facility and while in Polo Alto, California. I have been treated for pneumonia in intensive care and have obtained two artificial hips from the VA, of which I gratefully appreciate, but to me my recent encounter with the Clinic was not only a cold surprise, but led to a painful expensive disruption of my life for on additional month while obtaining adequate commercial surgery overseas.
I hope Sgt. Jefford’s, and taking in my experience into consideration, does not become the rule, but the very rare exception. In the meantime I shall continue my mini-campaign to report Veterans Administration incompetence and disregard for the pain, suffering, neglect, and the feelings of the patient ostensibly in their care.
Yours truly, and all the Best.