The Veteran Medical Centers of the United States..

United States
December 23, 2011 6:42pm CST
I don't know about the VA centers in other areas.. but ours stinks!! Two years ago we learned that my FIL was getting sick. All we knew at that time was that his body was no longer producing its own blood and he needed blood transfusions. We actually had to research on the internet to figure out what it was because the VA never told us. In fact, they told us nothing until this past August when they discovered that FIL's illness had progressed to leukemia. My FIL has been in and out of the VA for these past two years with various problems. The biggest problem he's had is weakness and general ill feeling whenever his blood got low. In fact, for awhile his blood was getting so low, he actually had a heart attack from lack of blood. After the heart attack the doctors finally decided not to let his levels get so low again. Another problem I've had with the VA is that no matter what FIL has been going through, the doctors there at the VA would keep sending him home, even though we all felt like he should not be home. One time they sent him home, and the very next day he fell due to weakness and ended up back in the hospital. FIL lived alone, but nobody at the hospital seemed to care that he could not care for himself, and they kept sending him home, usually just for a day or two until he needed to go back. A few weeks ago his condition worsened, and he had what they call a "blast cycle". His body created so many white blood cells that they were actually clogging up his blood vessels. When this happened, the VA sent him over to the university hospital for a procedure to filter off the white blood cells. The doctors at the University Hospital thankfully realized that my FIL was not fit to go home when nobody was there to care for him 24/7. So they set to work on finding more permanent care for him. Unfortunately, the VA was paying for FIL to stay at the University Hospital. The VA decided, without consulting anyone.. not even FIL, that they were going to send him to a different VA hospital in a different county.. only days before FIL was supposed to be transfered to a hospice facility. Thankfully my husband learned of this plan before it happened, and he put a stop to it, and FIL ended up getting into the hospice care place sooner than expected. He's been there since this past Thursday. However, the hospice care facility does not believe in giving any sort of treatment, not even insulin although FIL is a diabetic. They're also not giving him the pills he was taking to reduce his white blood cell count, and he's not getting blood transfusions anymore either. Hubby just went up to see his father, and he thinks he's basically unconcious at this point. FIL will be dying shortly. But I can't get over the awful treatment FIL received from the VA. They didn't seem to care what happened to him, whether he lived or died, or fell and broke a hip while at home.. or anything. How terrible is that? The man served in the Army, fought in the Korean war, and this is the treatment he gets during his final hours from the country he fought for? Pathetic if you ask me! I'm also not too fond of this hospice care, honestly. Not giving a diabetic insulin is like telling someone not to breathe. Not giving a leukemia patient blood transfusions is like telling people not to eat. But hospice views these things as life prolonging treatments. All they will administer is pain medications. Have you or someone you've known gotten terrible treatment from a VA medical center?
4 people like this
8 responses
@margeryann (1853)
• United States
24 Dec 11
I've had lots of family in hospice and they got treated better then that. That is awful. They received all of their medicine still. The only thing that their hospices wouldn't do is revive them any way. That is awful what your family and your FIL has gone through with VA and Hospice. I wonder if its legal for hospice to treat your FIL the way they are. I don't know the rules about that very well. Maybe a lawyer is in order.I don't know.It is hard enough to deal with a loved one dying then for them to get help in dying sooner and not being taken care of the way you would think they should. I bet that is real hard on your husband having to see his dad like that.
2 people like this
• United States
24 Dec 11
In our area, that's just what hospice does.. it doesn't really make sense to me, but everyone (hubby and his sister) understood what they were getting themselves into when they put FIL in the hospice care facility. Actually SIL was pushing for it because her husband's father volunteers there, so she fully understands. Yes, it is hard on them.. hubby has not been himself since he went to see his father a few hours ago.
@bounce58 (17550)
• Canada
28 Dec 11
Before I put in my response, I went to your last post and realized that your FIL's struggle has finally come to an end. I think he is in a better place now. And I hope you and your hubby could finally move on. I'm appalled at how the VA treated your FIL. It's really hard when people don't necessarily care what the patients go through. And they just treat is like a process!
• United States
28 Dec 11
It's all about money and politics so the patients aren't getting the proper care anymore.
@cynthiann (18572)
• Jamaica
24 Dec 11
Kat - words fail me. I did not know that this would happen to vets in the USA. I always thought that the vets were treated well. Good God - they fought for their country! What is more honourable than that? words fail me. I feel so angry. I am so sorry for what you are all going through. It just isn't right.
• United States
24 Dec 11
I know.. me too! Merry Christmas!
@KrauseHome (32868)
• United States
24 Dec 11
Well, personally I think it is Healthcare overall in general, and it scares me to think they are cutting out so many programs and such anymore that it is getting impossible I feel to get the type of Health Care that people really need. Back in June when I was in the hospital the hospital did not care about High Sugar levels and only wanted to give me 10 units of Insulin for sugar levels over 250. They even balked when I complained and said I will take the amount of my insulin I need, and they told me I had to wait until I was not a patient there. And this was in the unit where they treat people who have/or think they are having problems with their heart. Personally things like this are showing the lack of service Health care professionals are giving people anymore and it is sad. I have heard many things about VA Hospitals like this for sure before. Makes you wonder what is really happening and if the Health care costs are rising why not offer better care in the first place and save everyone some $$?
• United States
24 Dec 11
As someone studying to enter the medical field.. I would say that the field itself is not to blame for a few bad experiences. I've had plenty of bad experiences with bad doctors.. but I do not blame health care as a whole.
1 person likes this
@jillhill (37354)
• United States
24 Dec 11
My father!!!! Its the first time in my life that I swore at someone...they didn't even feed him one time after he had been there for over 8 hours. He was 83 at the time...hungry...and I was so mad! I wrote to Paul Wellstone who at the time was the head of the Veterans affairs......he wanted us to sue! No one at the facility gave a crap about their patients and they were getting big money from the gov. and us to take care of him. We got him transferred to another VA and the care was so much better there! I know what you are going through! When he had heart surgery they tried to send him home too....after four days! He collapsed and had to be taken back....I understand your anger.....totally!
• United States
24 Dec 11
So sorry about your dad. I'm pretty sure our VA was good about feeding the patients.. but the food wasn't so great. When FIL went over to University Hospital he was astounded at the fact he had menu options (patients without restrictions get a few different choices per meal) and the food was so much better. Now personally, I've never liked hospital food, so I can't imagine how awful the food at the VA is!
@AmbiePam (45049)
• United States
24 Dec 11
That is a shame. Have you e-mailed your congressman to tell them about it? I know it sounds like a long shot for change, but your choices to do something are so limited, aren't they. It's just not fair. I know about two VA facilities here. One is really bad. A lady in my apartment complex is actually taking care of her ex husband who has dementia because the VA facility he is in was so neglectful he got bed sores. His kids couldn't take him, so his ex wife stepped in and graciously agreed to watch over him. The other VA place I know of is a great place. I know a woman who works there and she is excellent. A lot of people try to get in that one because of the great reputation. But it's too rare that there are good ones. I've heard way too many bad stories like your father-in-laws.
• United States
24 Dec 11
That is so nice that the ex-wife is taking care of him! I can consider writing to congress, though I doubt it will do anything. It is a terrible shame that our veterans are being treated like garbage!
@dawnald (84129)
• Shingle Springs, California
24 Dec 11
No, but I"ve heard stories. It's downright shameful...
• United States
24 Dec 11
Sure is.. these guys who fight for our safety and freedom are getting the short end of the stick! Perhaps we should make all government employees use the VA.. maybe then it's standards will get better.
@GardenGerty (88907)
• Marion, Kansas
24 Dec 11
I have no direct experience with VA, so I do not know first hand. I do know that there have been quite a few scandals about them because they are generally run down. I do have experience with hospice, and I would say you have gotten into the wrong kind of one. They are supposed to follow the wishes of the patient, and keep them comfortable, and help them have the best end of life experience possible. When my husband was ill most of the people at the Hospice agency I used were terrific. Once in a while you get someone who is not, but it sounds like the whole mind set of the one you are at is more than a little out of line. The first time I worked as a CNA there was a lady who had Alzheimers, and fell, and went down hill really fast. She had forgotten how to swallow even. So hospice got her anti anxiety and pain meds in suppository form so she would be comfortable. If her family had wanted a feeding tube, they would have gone along, although they recommend against that because it prolongs life without improving the quality. I think that is what they are supposed to look at, "Will this treatment improve the quality of life for the client as they are passing?"
• United States
24 Dec 11
I know, I had to study hospice in a class last semester, and that was around the time we were first looking into it for FIL, but even then they told us FIL couldn't get hospice until he stopped getting blood transfusions. I didn't think that sounded right even then.. but I've spoken to a few friends of mine who are nurses, and apparently that's just how hospice in our area works. No life prolonging measures, at all. Doesn't seem right if you ask me..