VA Hospital Delays Example of How Government Bureaucracy is Failing Veterans

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama addressed the allegations of misconduct within the Veteran Affairs (VA) hospital system. Investigators are looking at 26 VA facilities around the country where 40 veterans are said to have died while waiting for health care services. It’s alleged that VA staff tampered with records to cover up the long wait times. 

While Obama said in his speech this week that he was outraged to find out about this scandal, the president himself sounded the alarm about veteran’s benefits in August 2010. The backlog of benefits checks at the VA foreshadowed the outrageous delay in medical care for our nation’s service members. 

Last year, Reason TV reported on the VA backlog and warned that massive government bureaucracy was failing our men and women in uniform. Original release date was November 10, 2013 and original writeup below:

Over the last 12 years, more than two million Americans have been deployed to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. But for thousands who return home with injuries, another battle is just beginning—this time, with the Department of Veteran's Affairs (VA).

Upon enlistment, service members are promised that, should a service-related injury occur, the U.S. government will provide them with care and financial compensation. The VA is responsible for providing this care but have been unable to render these services in a timely manner. The average wait time for a veteran to receive his or her benefits is one year.

President Obama sounded the alarm during a speech in August 2010, stating that it was the country's "moral obligation" to provide veterans with timely compensation. Under VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, the Obama administration promised that all claims would be processed within 125 days and with a 98 percent accuracy rating by the year 2015. 

Despite Obama's speech, the backlog continued to grow, reaching a peak of nearly 900,000 pending claims with 70 percent backlogged in March of 2013. This past August, the numbers dipped slightly: nearly 800,000 pending claims with 63 percent backlogged.

The administration points to the August numbers as a sign of improvement, but reports of processing errors reveal a poor quality of work, with mistake in 30 percent or more of the claims that they process. Unfortunately for those waiting for assistance, when a mistake is made, the veteran must appeal. Once an appeal is filed, the average waiting time for the veteran is another four years. 

About 4 minutes. 

Produced by Amanda Winkler. Camera by Joshua Swain and Winkler. Narrated by Todd Krainin.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    If the country can't shame a bureaucracy into positive action for a near universally supported segment of the population - the troops - what chance will Joe Civilian have with his version of the VA?

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    The only troops this administration supports have little red stars on their hats.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Eliminate the VHA and use the funds to put the vets onto Obamacare. It is a private delivery model with modest cost containment built in.

  • Agammamon||

    Where is the cost containment (modest or otherwise)?

    Is it in the same place the cost containment for Medicare is? You know, the cost containment mechanism that keeps getting overridden.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) are new delivery models that pay for wellness over services.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A.....ganization

    You pay docs fee for services - they will heap on services. It is the American way. Instead pay them based on outcomes.

  • Agammamon||

    So, you're saying we're still going to pay the doctors for services, just a different set of services?

  • Agammamon||

    And even better - give the healthcare organizations *huuuuuuuuuuuuuge* incentives to manipulate metrics to meet targets, even at the expense of patients.

    Hmm, that sounds familiar. Oh yeah, that's what the VA was doing.

  • Fluffy||

    So we're going to create a system where the way to succeed is to accumulate as many capitation payments as possible, and then provide no services at all.

    When the Romans tried to fund their provincial governments that way, they destroyed parts of three continents.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    That proposal is genius.

    Force the proggies to defend a failed bureaucracy by saying that Obamacare isn't good enough for da vets.

    Or

    Alternatively, get them to kill a bureaucracy and admit that vouchers (which is what we are talking about) work better than direct government delivery.

  • PapayaSF||

    Yeah, I don't think Buttplug understood what he was saying.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    I know damn good and well what I say. I have said the ACA is a model for the future of Medicare (which I detest) many times here.

    Alternatively, get them to kill a bureaucracy and admit that vouchers (which is what we are talking about) work better than direct government delivery.

    That is exactly what I want for Medicare and the VHA.

    I am no Tea Party idiot defending Medicare (Keep yer filthy government hands off my Medicare!)

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "I have said the ACA is a model for the future of Medicare"

    That's like treating cancer with a shotgun.

  • Paul.||

    Yeah, but it controls cost because it's a one-time treatment.

    Great success!

  • Mike M.||

    I see Weigel the scumbag finally got his Sorosian talking points delivered.

    And if this is the best they could come up with, it's no wonder it took several days.

  • C. Anacreon||

    The VA system should serve as a chilling predictor of what America can expect with single - payer health care.

  • Brian D||

    But the VA is, like, totally underfunded!

    ~Progderp

  • PapayaSF||

    As Johnny Longtorso said around here the other day:

    All government programs are simultaneously successful enough to prove that government needs more money and more power, and unsuccessful enough to prove that government needs more money and more power.

  • sarcasmic||

    Or the results of the political process.

    Either you participated in the process and must abide by the results, or you didn't participate have no right to question it. Either way you consent. It's impossible not to.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    That is genius and I am stealing it.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    The sum total of the Finger-Wagger-in Chief's interest in this matter is its effect on his "legacy".

  • Copernicus||

    I'm going to go out on a limb and say the Prez doesn't spend a lot of time at his desk trouble shooting the system.

  • Los Doyers||

    Maybe police agencies will also start to revaluate their policies regarding giving veterans hiring preference. Not sure a soldier coming back from Iraq/Afghanistan who probably has some form of PTSD would be well suited with a gun and a badge. Also: Josh Beckett no hitter! And fuck you time warner.

  • Agammamon||

    Even without the PTSD - how do you change a guy used to kicking down doors and shooting at anything that pops its head up into someone who can calmly deal with the cracked out dude strolling down main street in his birthday suit.

    Though both arguments (guy with PTSD and doorkicking) ignore that actual *combat* troops are thin on the ground - Huge chunks of our military personnel are in positions where they are in more danger from one of the local contractors sneaking a bomb in than catching a bullet or hitting an IED on a convoy.

    There are approx. 1.3 million active duty - .3 million are in the Navy alone (and, except for a small number, not really in any danger from the enemy at all).

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    "Even without the PTSD - how do you change a guy used to kicking down doors and shooting at anything that pops its head up into someone who can calmly deal with the cracked out dude strolling down main street in his birthday suit."

    I thought at first that the reference to kicking down doors was about cops. Reason's coverage has accustomed me to that association.

  • Agammamon||

    I was going to point out that this policy was maybe intended to get those very sorts of people.

    But then, logic reared its ugly head and pointed out that, by even the most generous definition of door-kicker, the US military has an incredibly tiny percentage of them.

    Just by numbers alone, these 'green to blue' programs have to be inundated with applications from cooks, supply clerks, secretaries, heavy equipment operators, etc.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    I see - but in my defense, you reference to door-kicking triggered me. I'm putting this in your tenure file.

  • Agammamon||

    If you put that in my tenure file, I'm going to sue you and Reason for employment discrimination.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    The only thing I'd actually put in your file is that you have an extensive publication record of insightful comments.

  • Wasteland Wanderer||

    Actually...I think that soldiers have a more restrictive ROE and are better at dealing with local populations than cops are. That's the fruit of our militarization of our police, while at the same time trying to be World Police: our soldiers are better at policing than our police are.

  • ||

    As had been pointed out to Dunphy, soldiers have a better track record when it comes to showing restraint. Also, they tend to be scrutinized waaaaay more intensely than cops.

  • BuSab Agent||

    It's not restraint, it's discipline. Every military from the dawn of time has tried to train soldiers to not panic--no matter if they're marching into a hail of bullets while reloading, or manning the turret while the position is being shelled, or putting out the fire when the ship is sinking etc. Soldiers are trained to keep on following orders even if it gets them killed. Most of the puppycides, botched raids, and wild hails of gunfire at unarmed suspects I see in police misconduct cases are straight out panic reactions on the part of police.

  • Swiss Servator, CH yeah!||

    "wild hails of gunfire at unarmed suspects"

    Iraqi Death Blossoms

  • politicsbyothermeans||

    Mainly contractors, Iraqis and, ahem, MARSOC that one time in A'stan.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Well, it's strongly emphasized that the military is under civilian command. I don't the same can be said for our police.

  • politicsbyothermeans||

    You are absolutely correct. I would have been court-martialed repeatedly if I did shit that our cops do on a regular basis.

    And I will tell you that I've seen grown man weep over the fact that they had to kill a dog on the objective because it was barking and about to wake up everyone.

    So, yeah, on average our guys downrange treat foreign populaces better than cops treat American citizens.

  • croaker||

    Infantry in Afghanistan are under a stricter rules of engagement than police are here in the USA.

  • PapayaSF||

    the president himself sounded the alarm about veteran’s benefits in August 2010

    I believe he "sounded the alarm" about VA problems in 2007 or 2008.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    And he's disappointed that nobody did anything, they let him down.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    He banged the gong, nobody got it on.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Wife and I were discussing this the other day. He is as clueless about leadership as he is on economics. He has the leadership abilities of a child. Being a good campaigner doesn't mean you can lead. It's almost like he has no experience at it.

    ...wait.

  • sarcasmic||

    VA Hospital Delays Example of How Government Bureaucracy is Failing Veterans

    ftfy

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    In some countries, the responsible minister would fall on his sword (though I hope not literally, since I'm not a fan of suicide).

    Here, he stays on so he can Fix the Problem.

  • Wasteland Wanderer||

    In some countries, the responsible minister would fall on his sword (though I hope not literally, since I'm not a fan of suicide).

    I would, except those fuckers generally don't deserve to get off that easy.

  • Bobarian||

    The responsible deputy minister was made to fall onto his cushy retirement.

    Robert Petzel retired a little earlier than planned.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    OT: New book on genetics and race. Get the smelling salts!

    http://online.wsj.com/news/art.....2247869874

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    disclaimer: I don't know if any of it is true.

  • juris imprudent||

    Let me emphasize, as Mr. Wade does, how little we yet know about the substance of racial and ethnic differences.

    Ha, as if that is going to slow down the hysterical over-reactions that are sure to come.

  • WDATPDIM?!||

    Thanks for the heads-up.

  • juris imprudent||

    Mr. Wade explicitly warns the reader that these latter chapters, unlike his presentation of the genetics of race, must speculate from evidence that falls far short of scientific proof. His trust in his audience is touching

    Ah, never mind, he correctly anticipates the ensuing shitstorm.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Even the New Republic is worried about The Dangerous New Scientific Racism

    http://www.newrepublic.com/art.....fic-racism

  • Sidd Finch||

    Even?

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    The phrase "even the liberal New Republic" was a joke among liberals, back when the magazine actually published articles contradicting the liberal orthodoxy. The point of the joke was that the New Republic wasn't liberal at all, but it was convenient for conservatives to pretend that it was, so that their attacks on liberalism could look more credible.

    Now the New Republic is so utterly liberal that the joke has become dated.

    For more, see

    http://reason.com/blog/2013/03.....-cheerlead

  • Irish||

    Holy fuck, there is a hilariously anti-Semitic quote in that article by Marty Peretz.

    The likes of Ezra Klein mocked TNR’s reliable hawkishness as “mercilessly frivolous”; Peretz returned the favor by describing Klein as one of those “cold Jews or almost Jews or non-Jews who cannot stomach Zionism because it is of this world.”

    HAHAHAHAHAHA, what the fuck? I feel like this is anti-Semitic, but it's such a bizarre insult I can't really tell.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    He was calling Klein the Jewish equivalent of an "Oreo" or "Uncle Tom" - an intra-ethnic slur questioning the target's loyalty to the group.

    How about "pork blintz" - Jewish on the outside, Gentile on the inside?

    Wow, now I'm hungry.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    And it's actually an option according to this recipe

    http://www.bigoven.com/recipe/.....zes/110525

  • Sidd Finch||

    Perhaps I missed the joke because TNR had the most hysterical reaction to The Bell Curve (placing it high in the running for most hysterical reaction to anything, ever).

    Sullivan let Herrnstein and Murray write something for the magazine and the staff went bonkers and wrote 20 batshit crazy responses. Some liberals still mainly know Sullivan as The Bell Curve guy.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Well, there is a pretty nasty history behind scientific 'studies' of biological racial difference and those being used as support for some pretty awful, coercive government measures. If someone wrote a detached, measured book on eugenics today they would probably get some flak too.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    You mean like Hunter's *Civic Biology*?

    http://www-personal.umd.umich......esText.htm

    (just yanking everyone's chain)

  • Sidd Finch||

    Well, there is a pretty nasty history behind scientific 'studies' of biological racial difference and those being used as support for some pretty awful, coercive government measures.

    I know, right? There's no telling how many goyim this audience slaughtered.

    If someone wrote a detached, measured book on eugenics today they would probably get some flak too.

    "Eugenics" is a question of morality or philosophy, not a scientific hypothesis.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    So if someone wrote a book solely on the drags to society that people who inherit bad qualities or who are genetically predisposed to bad qualities, given that such books were often used in the past to endorse some pretty awful coercive measures, they should not expect and be given some extra scrutiny?

  • Sidd Finch||

    The point was that comparing a scientific hypothesis (especially one with lots of evidence) to a moral position is apples and oranges.

    So if someone wrote a book solely on the drags to society that people who inherit bad qualities or who are genetically predisposed to bad qualities

    That person would be an American who didn't bother reading much about eugenics.

  • Irish||

    Well, there is a pretty nasty history behind scientific 'studies' of biological racial difference and those being used as support for some pretty awful, coercive government measures.

    Saying 'there is a nasty history' behind something is not a rational argument for stopping scientific research. If we find that certain genes make people more susceptible to certain things, or make them more likely to think or behave in certain ways, then should we suppress that knowledge to make people feel better about themselves?

    It seems to me that if you're actually in favor of free inquiry and the scientific process, then you shouldn't be opposed to genetic research into possible racial differences.

    I personally think any racial differences are completely obliterated by far more important cultural differences, but I don't think I should stop scientific research into the subject just because the answers might upset me.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Irish, I'm a big fan of Charles Murray (I got into a big fight with John defending him when he came out with his stuff about college). I certainly would not support suppressing any research, my only point was to note that this is, given it's historical use, controversial stuff, and that's understandable.

  • Sidd Finch||

    Oh c'mon, Bo isn't saying that research should be stopped. He's simply saying that if your boss publishes the Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology at Harvard University on a topic he's been researching for a couple decades, it's rational (because history) to insist that the magazine also publish the rebuttal you've been thinking about for a couple days.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Er, no, that's not at all what I am saying.

  • Sidd Finch||

    Where you saying anything more interesting than "Controversial writers get flack"?

  • Sidd Finch||

    Oh c'mon, Bo isn't saying that research should be stopped. He's simply saying that if your boss publishes the Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology at Harvard University on a topic he's been researching for a couple decades, it's rational (because history) to insist that the magazine also publish the rebuttal you've been thinking about for a couple days.

  • Irish||

    The New Republic has quite possibly the worst writers of any political magazine:

    A side note: It’s incredible how often this mistake is made in other areas, like, for example, when trying to talk about biological sex as being a matter of XX or XY chromosomes. Sure, it's technically correct, but it's useless in a practical sense when "female" and "male" are fuzzy categories that different societies decide are defined by a range of changeable physical characteristics like genitals, body shape, hair coverage, etc.—and, for that matter, nobody gives a shit what your chromosomes are when they’re kicking in your ribcage on a piss-streaked pavement for being “a bloke in a dress” or whatever. But I digress.)

    Let me see if I follow this argument. Since various societies have defined male and female differently, we can disregard the scientific fact that men and women are genetically different due to the type of chromosomes they have?

    Sterling logic! The Tibetans in 1500 had bizarre ideas about what made a man and woman, therefore let's pretend the X and Y chromosomes have no relevance in someone's development. Brilliant. Why do we need genetic researchers and biologists when TNR is there to assure us that there is no physical genetic difference between men and women.

  • Sidd Finch||

    HuffPo says hi:

    So while genes matter, they are only a small part of the whole evolutionary picture. Focusing just on DNA won't get you anywhere.

  • Irish||

    What are they talking about? Genes are the only part of the evolutionary picture.

    They're only a small part of the human picture because you need to take culture, political institutions, tradition, etc. into account. However, I don't know what Huffpo thinks evolution is if it isn't primarily about changing genes over time.

  • Irish||

    There are multiple problems with that HuffPo article:

    Humans all share essentially 100 percent of our genes and 99.9 percent of our variation. So the variation we are interested in involves 0.1 percent of the entire genome. And yes, understanding that variation is important.

    They make it sound like .1% is small, but Humans share about 85% of our genome with fucking mice. .1% can result in massive variation between populations.

  • Irish||

    Jesus Christ:

    He says on page 74:

    People as they spread out across the globe at the same time fragmented into small tribal groups. The mixing of genes between these little populations was probably very limited. Even if geography had not been a formidable barrier, the hunter-gatherer groups were territorial and mostly hostile to strangers. Travel was perilous. Warfare was probably incessant.

    I don't have the space here to go into all the ways in which this is completely out of touch with what we know from anthropology, archeology, paleoanthropology, sociology and history about the last 50,000 years, but let me just say that Wade's views on human evolution, how evolution works and how societies have changed over time are way off the mark, and there are numerous books, articles and even documentaries that have shown this over and over again for decades.

    Bwahahahaha. "I don't have enough space to explain why he's wrong, so you'll just have to take my word for it while I provide no evidence."

    It does seem like Wade's book has some massive flaws, particularly as regards his arbitrary designation of there being five 'major races.' This is one of those rare instances where both sides in a debate seem to consist mostly of idiots.

  • Irish||

    Sorry about the quadruple post, but I feel this is relevant:

    According to the Genome News Network we share 99% of our genes with chimps. So, according to Huffpo, a .1% is completely snooze-worthy and not particularly relevant, but a 1% difference is the difference between me and a monkey.

    This article is terrible science. And then there's this:

    Genes don't do anything by themselves; epigenetics and complex metabolic and developmental systems are at play in how bodies work. The roundworm C. elegans has about 20,000 genes while humans have about 23,000 genes, yet it is pretty obvious that humans are more than 15-percent more complex than roundworms. So while genes matter, they are only a small part of the whole evolutionary picture. Focusing just on DNA won't get you anywhere.

    What. Who on Earth was arguing that the sheer number of genes is a sign of complexity, other than the author of this article? This isn't arguing with strawmen, the author seems to be swinging his fists wildly at phantoms.

  • Sidd Finch||

    epigenetics and complex metabolic and developmental systems

    LOL

    "complex metabolic and developmental systems" is epigenetics

  • Sidd Finch||

    The author at HuffPo is an anthropologist, you know, an idiot.

    It does seem like Wade's book has some massive flaws, particularly as regards his arbitrary designation of there being five 'major races.'

    There's pretty clearly five major races.

    http://blogs.discovermagazine....../3DPCA.png

  • MJGreen||

    Sure, it's technically correct, but it's useless in a practical sense when "female" and "male" ...[run on sentence that never seems to end]

    Clearly not a Futurama fan.

    Technically correct is the best kind of correct.

  • WDATPDIM?!||

    I wish I had a Supreme Court case saying that. I would cite the hell out of that mofo.

  • PapayaSF||

    nobody gives a shit what your chromosomes are when they’re kicking in your ribcage on a piss-streaked pavement for being “a bloke in a dress” or whatever.

    Isn't concern over chromosomes precisely why "a bloke in a dress" gets assaulted?

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    "Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis received a hostile greeting in Los Angeles Thursday morning, when life-sized posters depicting her as "Abortion Barbie" began popping up throughout the city ahead of her fundraiser there.

    "The posters say "Hollywood welcomes Abortion Barbie Wendy Davis," and they show Davis' face on a mostly-naked barbie doll with a plastic baby in her belly."

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....f=politics

  • pan fried wylie||

    guess she won't be getting many votes from LA...

    /campaigngenius

  • Agammamon||

    Wait, don't the Democrats complain about the pernicious effects of money in politics?

    If so, why is she going out of state to raise money for her gubernatorial campaign? What possible reason could people living in CA have for wanting to support a TX governor, outside of 'access and influence'?

    Isn't this sort of like a presidential candidate accepting campaign contributions from the Chinese?

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Worse, because the Chinese don't have annoying *Free Tibet* bumper stickers on their cars.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    The Chinese are a many miles West of CA, though only slightly to their left.

  • Bobarian||

    Well, a lot of people with money in CA are looking to move to TX. This way they can fuck it up before they get there.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    My friends from Colorado say that's what happened there.

  • politicsbyothermeans||

    At the rate Californians are bailing on the Left Republik and moving to California I guess she figured it would be good to get some name recognition going.

  • politicsbyothermeans||

    Shit. Moving to Texas rather.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "they show Davis' face on a mostly-naked barbie doll with a plastic baby in her belly.""

    That's one classy pro-life movement there.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Choicer children holding up tasteful signs at the Texas legislature last year:

    http://www.pinterest.com/pin/72831718946995722/

    and

    http://www.pinterest.com/pin/72831718946977537/

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I know right, as a pro-choice guy I certainly wouldn't draw attention to those people.

    Know what I mean?

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    "Awesome dad defends awesome daughter’s message to Texas lawmakers"

    http://www.salon.com/2013/07/2.....lawmakers/

    "Super Cool Dad Defends Daughter's ‘Keep Jesus Out of My Vagina' Poster"

    http://jezebel.com/super-cool-.....-817807752

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    More choicers drawing attention - the *Guardian* publishes the proud dad's defense of his daughter

    http://www.theguardian.com/com.....CMP=twt_gu

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Of course, the situations would be morally equivalent if mocking Jesus was the same as mocking Wendy Davis!

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I'm not sure you got the gist of my comment there, Eddie...

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Moral equivalence.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Er, no.

    See, you, the pro-life guy, drew attention to the classless acts of your own side, probably because you thought it was cool because, well, saving-babies-means-never-saying-you're-sorry!

    I, the pro-choice guy, certainly wouldn't put these classless fellow travelers up for attention.

    But hey, keep fighting the fight, innocent baby murderers gotta be stopped!

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Wendy Davis /= Jesus

    ergo

    mocking Wendy Davis /= mocking Jesus

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    mocking Wendy Davis /= teenage girl holding up a sign about her lady parts, to Dad's approval

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Good grief, you actually still don't get it.

    It's not about picking classless persons on each side and seeing who lacks the most class, it is about the fact that you trumpeted classlessness on your side. Probably because, innocent-babies-justify-anything!!!!

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    "seeing who lacks the most class"

    and guess which side wins *that* contest?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Whooosh!

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Oh, I see your point, all right, only thing is it's silly.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Sure, Eddie, you saw it. That's why you posted almost half a dozen times furthering it.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

  • ||

    Either reason or someone in one of the links last week posted that.

  • cw||

    My dad's a retired pathologist. Here's his anecdote about the VA:

    When I was a third year med student, I spent a month at the VA hospital on a general surgery rotation. It was mainly performing scut work for the surgical interns and residents such as collecting lab data, changing and cleaning surgical wound sites, removing sutures, and various nursing duties when the nurses failed to perform them in a timely fashion.

    We also took call every few nights and would be called to do an initial work-up on patients admitted during the night. While many of the doctors and nurses working at the VA were outstanding, there was a large proportion of nurses who did not seem to care much about their work performance. It was not unusual to discover that one superlative nurse was having to perform the duties of several others, something which undoubtedly led eventually to burn out.

    One night in particular remains strongly in my memory, even 36 years later. After arriving to the hospital at 6AM and working pretty much non-stop until 10PM that evening, I ate dinner and went to the on-call room with the hopes of getting some sleep. However, around 2AM, I was awakened by a phone call from one of the floor nurses instructing me to come to the ward in order to start an IV on a patient that they were unable to stick successfully. Since I had worn scrubs to bed, I was able to get up and get to the ward in less than 5 minutes.

  • cw||

    Once there, I found 4 nurses sitting around a table playing cards. One nurse looked up and shouted "Smith, room 202, bed 2. The IV materials are there." I verified the patient name and the order for an IV in the chart, and then noticed that there had been no attempt to start an IV by the nurses. They simply didn't want their card game to be interrupted. Being the lowly med student I went ahead and started the IV so the patient could receive his antibiotics before he developed sepsis.

  • Ted S.||

    It's too bad small recording devices weren't available 36 years ago.

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    Oops: White House accidentally exposes CIA chief in Afghanistan

    The CIA’s top officer in Kabul was exposed Saturday by the White House when his name was inadvertently included on a list provided to news organizations of senior U.S. officials participating in President Obama’s surprise visit with U.S. troops.

    The White House recognized the mistake and quickly issued a revised list that did not include the individual, who had been identified on the initial release as the “Chief of Station” in Kabul, a designation used by the CIA for its highest-ranking spy in a country

    The disclosure marked a rare instance in which a CIA officer working overseas had his cover — the secrecy meant to protect his actual identity — pierced by his own government. The only other recent case came under significantly different circumstances, when former CIA operative Valerie Plame was exposed as officials of the George W. Bush administration sought to discredit her husband, a former ambassador and fierce critic of the decision to invade Iraq.

    The Post is withholding the name of the CIA officer at the request of Obama administration officials who warned that the officer and his family could be at risk if the name were published. The CIA and the White House declined to comment.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    So someone in the administration will be prosecuted for disclosing classified information, right?

    *holds breath*

  • Cdr Lytton||

    Also like the unnamed administration officials that requested the withholding. It sounds so important.

    White House press office junior intern: Please don't *voice cracks* publish it.

    Katharine Weymouth: Whatever you say. *hangs up and faps furiously* The administration called _me_ today!

  • Agammamon||

    Except - the Chief of Station is not a classified position - many times the COS is 'declared' and the host nation knows who he is. He has 'Official Cover' (as compared to 'Non-Official Cover' - the NOC list of recent spy movie fame) and has diplomatic protection (unlike NOC agents which don't).

    The COS may partake in illegal (in the host country) activities (such as, you know, running a ring of agents).


    Wikipedia has a (partial) list of former COS.

  • Agammamon||

    Another thing that doesn't make sense (but is par for the course for our government) - if you leak classified information, its no longer actually, you know, *secret* andd there's not point in freaking out and re-issuing the list with the guy you burned's name removed.

    There are no take-backs in OpSec.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    But there are in the Ministry of Truth.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Washington Post Headline:

    "In Ukrainian election, chocolate tycoon Poroshenko claims victory"

    Didn't go with 'Sweet Victory for chocolate tycoon in Ukrainian election?' That's admirable restraint.

  • Crickets||

    **chirp chirp chirp**

  • roth||

    It's a shame not helping vets. Not to mention regular citizens, on soc sec or other supplements. We spend trillions on wars. Give billions to 100's of foreign countries. Help our people first, then help others.

  • Irish||

    We spend trillions on wars. Give billions to 100's of foreign countries.

    You need to check your math. We spend vastly more on social security and medicare than on wars, and our total foreign aid is $23 billion...an amount that would pay for less than one day of federal spending.

  • ||

    an amount that would pay for less than one day of federal spending.

    One down 364 more to go....and a good place to start. Cutting off the slush funds of despots and tyrants would send the right signal.

    Note: You are just talking about free cash for fuck all...when you add in military aid (NATO, South Korea, Japan) that number gets substantially bigger. Not even mentioning stuff like free land in Nevada for China so Harry Reid's son can get a do nothing job with some Chinese solar panel company or a dead ambassador in Benghazi.

  • Paul.||

    I took the liberty of hitting up your twitter page and saw this, which was too awesome:

    Regarding today's Euro elex, remember the old maxim: The dark night of fascism is always descending upon America but only lands in Europe

  • Fluffy||

    "Super Cool Dad Defends Daughter's ‘Keep Jesus Out of My Vagina' Poster"

    I see absolutely no problem with that poster.

    Then again, I have no problem with mocking Wendy Davis, either.

  • frankania||

    Well, this ain't new news.
    In 1970, I applied for student funds from the VA, being an army veteran.
    After months of paperwork, I still was not enrolled so I called my congressman, then my grandfather's friend in the govt. and FINALLY after a year, I got my first check to cover the tuition I had already paid from my own pocket.
    Govt doesn't work efficiently, and BIG govt is impossible!

  • politicsbyothermeans||

    My contemporary experience with the VA is that they are considerably faster with education benefits than they are with healthcare.

  • 619 Limo||

    I agree with the person above

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