Thursday, November 8, 2007

VA Healthcare--The good, The bad, The ugly

November 8, 2007

From Investigative Producer Mark Whitehead--

A critical eye takes a look at the VA health services here in southern Nevada - as seen by Vietnam Vet, Raymond Ritter, who waits day after day for urgent surgery that was supposed to have taken place last July.
As the waiting hours tick, Raymond wonders when time will run out for his leg. Raymond fears without immediate surgery his leg will be amputated.
On October 24th we received this note from the VA regarding Raymond, "patient has been seen, scheduled for pre-op and surgery."
Yet, weeks later, after a November 8th visit to the VA, Raymond tells us there has been no pre-op and no date set for surgery.
Where does this leave Raymond? We contacted the VA and explained the latest.
The VA response? "During his pre-op evaluation, additional healthcare issues were identified and are being addressed prior to his surgery. Once these matters have been addressed, his surgery will be rescheduled. I apologize for not providing additional information, but due to HIPAA (patient privacy) we are not able to elaborate. I will say that the delay is appropriate and in the best interest of the patient."
The WATCHDOG called Raymond and read this note from the VA to him.
WatchDog: Raymond, we're you told anything about additional healthcare issues?
Raymond: No.
WatchDog: So, you have not had healthcare issues identified and explained to you?
Raymond: No.
WatchDog: You saw a doctor today?
Raymond: They called her one. All she did was tell me what I had to do to get the operation.
WatchDog: What did she tell you?
Raymond: She just told me I had to take these tests but I have already done these test.
WatchDog: Why are you having to redo them?
Raymond: She said they were not recent enough.
WatchDog: When is your next appointment?
Raymond: I don't have an appointment.
WatchDog: How is your leg doing?
Raymond: Very bad. It's getting worse.
WatchDog: In what ways?
Raymond: The pain. Swollen more. Popping out more. And, the fact of it is I can not get out of bed. Then, it will go numb. My foot goes numb all the time.
WatchDog: What's next for you?
Raymond: Redo test that I have already had done. January before I could have surgery.
WatchDog: Has your doctor explained more about your leg and potential amputation?
Raymond: Said I have to get it (surgery) done. She said, eventually, they are just going to take your leg off.
WatchDog: And explain the problem with your leg in simple terms?
Raymond: There's no blood going through the bone so it will start rotting inside.

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