Brickbat: Professional Care


The Buffalo, New York, Veterans Affairs Medical Center may have exposed hundreds of veterans to blood-borne diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis B and C. The hospital has warned patients that staff repeatedly used insulin pens that should have been used only once and has asked them to be tested for various diseases.

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  1. Maybe if they didn’t want infected they would have kept their pancreases in better condition. As a result they got exposed to STEALTH DEATH PANELS.

  2. Fucking VA, always trying to stick it to the vets.

    1. Unfortunately, they call the shots.-(

      TRICARE is generally awful (and a pain with which to deal billing-wise). TAO (or Randian now) has stated unequivocally that though he is entitled to VA/TRICARE, he pays for his own medical care. As it should be, IMMO and IMSHO.

      If any of our veterans have similar anectdotes, such as John, TAO, LTC(ret) John, Drake, and others that have served in This Man’s Military, this is a good thread to post.

      This also bolsters the case for membership in a fantastic insurance org known as USAA, which is open to members of a military member’s immediate family as the enlisted/retired man or woman proper.

      1. I will see plasma, an eye or a kidney before I turn to the VA for anything. Why?

        1. I can pay my own way, and should, thankee very much,

        2. My parents (Dad an MD, Mom a med tech) both worked at one time or another with/for the VA back in the 1950s-1960s and said back then it was awful, much less now,

        3. A few of the guys I was in Afghanistan with went to or checked out the local VA hospital or clinic and all left repulsed by them, turned off by the service and vowed never to go back.

        Doc is right, TRICARE was/is awful to deal with. My wife threatened to poison me if I ever made her deal with them again, after my last couple of deployments.

        1. My parents (Dad an MD, Mom a med tech)

          Aha! You “get it” and have some insight into my POV.-)))

          Also, I stopped by your blog. Very well done.

        2. Dunno about the VA, but the naval hospital on Camp Pendleton generated horror stories at least on a weekly basis. My two favorite involving their maternity ward: one was given some bad medication (what it was, I have no clue), and as a result caused a miscarriage. IIRC, she was ~3 months pregnant when it happened. About a year later, I met another Marine mom whose daughter was denied oxygen for several minutes after birth for some reason. Apparently the doctor denied oxygen immediately after delivering her daughter and destroyed her brain. Her daughter required life support of some sorts and wasn’t expected to make it past 5, I think. Some seriously sad and callous shit.

      2. I’ve got one but it’s clerical not medical. The closest VA hospital is about 60 miles away so I filled out all of my eligibility paperwork by mail. I got my acceptance letter but never bothered to drive in to get a photo ID because I already had my own private insurance through my employer which is sufficient. A couple on months later I was on vacation in a town with a VA hospital and figured I’d drop in with my acceptance letter and have them take my picture. Hah! After waiting for about 2 hours, I finally get to the ID card desk only to be told that the hospitals don’t share eligibility records and only the first one could issue a card to me.

        1. One bit I left out. I originally applied because the VA sent an unsolicited letter that I qualified based in my service records. Filled out the forms and whatever else the instructions said to do. Get a rejection letter that I’m not eligible after several months. Call VA. Clerk doesn’t know why it’s rejected and says just resend the paperwork. Resend the exact same paperwork. Waited another bunch of months. This time the acceptance letter shows up.

          USAA is good stuff. In my younger days I had a far from stellar driving record and they still covered me at not unreasonable rates. I’d still have them if they would cover my house (higher risk area). I would add that they’ve changed as a company in recent years and seem to be much more focused on growth. The reps push products a lot harder now than they used to on non-sales calls.

          1. They have been running a ton of commercials lately. I was wondering if they were scammy or really legit. Sounds like the latter but you wonder how long that will last with the growth they are going for.

      3. Oh, and Francisco d’Anconia. Apologies, my friend, as you served honourably in the AF.

      4. I could regale you for weeks with horror stories as I was a Navy brat from birth and then joined for two tours myself. While on active duty, we used to say you only go to sick call if you’re bleeding or blue. And NEVER never trust a doc over the rank of LCDR.
        My younger brother (submarine vet) died of diabetes complications under the wonderful care of the VA. My parents were bankrupted by my mother’s heart attack and TriCare’s lovely non-coverage if you happen to need emergent care away from a covered medical facility. I will never go to the VA for anything…IMO a witch doctor would provide better and more timely care.

        1. My parents were bankrupted by my mother’s heart attack and TriCare’s lovely non-coverage

          Good. It will teach them to leech off the government teat instead of trusting the market to provide health care.

          1. My mom is hard-core statist; we don’t get along. Even though her lovely state provided medical care fucked them over, she still thinks Obamacare is a good idea. My dad can come live with us, but my mom can freeze to death under a bridge.

        2. Funny, but the best care I’ve gotten has been from 0-5/6’s – they’ve got enough rank to get whatever they want and don’t have to worry about pissing off higher. The only way you can hurt an 0-6 is by rolling up his fitrep and poking him in the eye with it.

          1. Well the reasoning is that many military docs (at least in my time) joined to pay for medical school. Working off their obliserv gets them to LCDR. Once they’ve finished that, the smart, competent docs resign their commission and go civilian for the pay and perks. The ones that stay past that point are the ones that would be creamed in the civilian world by a malpractice suit in no time because they’re not so smart and not so competent.

      5. I did much the same when I retired last year. Despite a lot of pressure to sign onto the post-retirement TriCare plan, I told them to fuck off.

        I’d already experienced the “meh” care active duty gets and have no intention of paying for VA “care”. If I want to rot to death in a pile of my own feces, I can do that at home for free.

      6. Thanks for the nut-punch doc. My BF is scheduled for surgery at a VA Hosp in a few weeks and I was already concerned, now scared shitless.

        1. Well, I’ll keep you both in my thoughts, Tonio. Is he enlisted?

  3. This is what American socialized medicine looks like.

    1. Exactly, it’s free and beautiful. Obviously, they need a few more regulations so that tragedies like this don’t happen again, but after a few more rules are instated, it will be perfect.

      1. Those poor sobs were probably on a waiting list for years to get stuck with reused insulin pens…so yeah just like socialized medicine everywhere.

    2. “This is what American socialized medicine looks like.”

      In 10 years we will look back in awe at how wonderful medical care is now by comparison.

  4. Needs moar federal regulation and oversight. If that hospital were run by the government, these things would never happen.

  5. The whole thing sounds kinda scary to me dude.

    1. Hey, you are back on target, anonybot!

      Jsut needz better algorithms.

  6. And what a stupid way to save money. Even fancy brand-name insulin needles are 2-3 cents apiece OTC. Buy them in bulk and using the cheap ones probably push it down to a penny.

    If they are literally penny-pinching, who knows what they are reusing.

    1. If I could kidnap you and Mrs. SugarFree and employ you here as a DM1 & 2 consultant teaching that one can live a normal life with Teh Diabeetus, I would do so in a heartbeat. You certainly know as much as any endocrinologist WRT it, and over the years, I have been impressed with your pharma knowledge.

      Why you never considered a career in the medical arts and sciences is beyond me.

      1. While fine with describing them for lulz, in real life bodily fluids gross me out. And I spent the years I could stand being in a classroom on the deeply foolish idea that I would teach on a university level. The brutal realities of campus politics beat that out of me.

        Although, now having read the article, I’m realizing that they are talking about reusing insulin injection pens while changing the needle tips everytime. I’ve used those pens in the past, but I don’t know anything about the likilyhood of backwash.

        1. And I spent the years I could stand being in a classroom on the deeply foolish idea that I would teach on a university level. The brutal realities of campus politics beat that out of me.

          I know the sentiment. It’s all that “academic freedom” that drove me out. I refused to teach the curriculum they wanted me to teach: a set of readers that are designed to be primers in to liberalism. Environmental nonsense. Sociological nonsense. Everything they wanted to teach was specifically designed to unteach what students had been learning their whole lives. I subscribed to that theory only insofar as very few of my students had what any reasonably educated person would consider college level writing skills, and that I needed to unteach the horrible habits instilled in them through their government schooling. But the higher-ups wanted it to go much further than that; they wanted me to teach them how to be socially responsible liberals.

          And I received hell because I wouldn’t.

          1. I didn’t even get that far. I decided to give it up my junior year. And I was getting to know myself better, and realizing that I’m fine at a one-on-one level, but I’d be terrible running a classroom.

            And I did wind up teaching in a certain sense, considering all the on-the-job training I provide.

        2. WRT likelihood of backwash, because virii are so small and the particular virii referenced, it does not take much to infect another person given how virulent (relative strength of a pathogen) and pathogenicity (the overall ability of a pathogen to cause disease).

          Nurses (and doctors) who have suffered accidental needle sticks whilst improperly recapping needles for sharps disposal can attest to that (or in isolated cases, a patient ripping out an IV and stabbing staff. It does happen.) In fact, needles going directly to sharps should not be recapped anyway, if no one else is in the room.

          1. Doc, you’re referring to Hep A/B, right? My understanding is that HIV can’t survive for more than 15 seconds outside the human body (which is a very, very good thing for humanity as a species).

            1. HIV can if in bodily fluid like blood, semen, vaginal secretions, and such, but always assume everything is a risk as per Standard Precautions. Otherwise, you’re correct as it is very fragile (1:10 parts bleach to H20 is enough to disinfect and kill it IIRC). Also, this. The enzymes in saliva is why it’s very difficult (but not impossible if blood in present in the saliva) to transmit via kissing.

              If HIV was transmittable via airbourne/droplet contamination….we’d be finished as a species (and most likely all the other great apes).

            2. HTML tag user FAIL! Only “always” should have been italicized.

            3. Also, Tonio, keep in mind that the patients that were infected may have been immunocompromised for other reasons. A perfect storm of awful all the way around.

      2. I’m not sure what it says about ou, Doc, that you think Sugarfree lives a “normal” life.

        1. SugarFree is probably my best friend here. He is the *only* layperson on this board I could trust (in most circumstances) with my RX pad, and probably the most moral and internally consistent (though we disagree sharply on some issues) who posts.

          Take that for what you will.-)

          1. You could DEFINITELY trust me with the Rx pad, Doc. No problem.

            1. Quothe the thesis of Dune:

              “Those who actively seek power are the most unfit to wield it.”


              1. I don’t seek the wield the pad, Doc. I’m just sayin’.

                *winks back*

          2. The best part, for me at least, is when we privately email each other so we can talk behind their backs about them.

          3. Awww…bromance.

            1. Ha. Green is a terrible colour on you.-)

  7. Ain’t government run healthcare grand? I can’t wait until we get socialized medicine so we can all be given this level of professional care and service. Because… mumble mumble… equality… something something… fairness… blah blah blah.

  8. “The hospital has warned patients that staff repeatedly used insulin pens that should have been used only once and has asked them to be tested for various diseases.”

    And people wonder why you can’t find Press-Ganey scores for government hosppitals.

  9. And these people are still employed…why? Oh, yeah, govt. If I were of a more cynical disposition I’d probably think that the whole purpose of the VA was to kill off the patients quickly to save on pension payments, future medical care, etc.

    This is truly maddening because anyone who’s ever been through even a one-hour unit on bloodborne pathogens knows to not reuse the fricking needles.

  10. I really love coming here to have a very good blog chat

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