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Va Calls 911----urgent Care Was Closed


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VA NEWS FLASH from Larry Scott at VA Watchdog dot Org -- 10-08-2006 #4

VA Medical Malpractice Lawyer - Malpractice Cases for Veterans Against the VA - The Law Offices of W. Robb Graham, L.L.C. - Former Navy Judge Advocate

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DID LACK OF "URGENT CARE" AT SPOKANE VA COST A VETERAN

HIS LIFE? -- Spokane "Urgent Care" closed at 4:30. At 4:35,

veteran was denied care as VA employee called 911 to get

an ambulance. The veteran died at another hospital.

This is something I hoped I'd never have to write about.

But, it was bound to happen.

With Congress consistently shortchanging the VA budget, services have been cutback in many facilities.

In Spokane, Washington, Urgent Care care was cut from 24 hours earlier this year. Story here...

http://www.vawatchdog.org/old%20newsflashe...-28-2006-10.htm This story is worth reading because Washington Senator Maria Cantwell demanded answers about this move. To my knowledge, she never got the answers.

Now, Urgent Care is only open from 8am to 4:30pm.

4:35 is too late!

This should be a wakeup call to our politicians. It's time to fully fund the VA.

Story here... http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/6420AP...teran_Dies.html

Story below:

---------------

Ailing war vet dies after VA hospital calls 911 for help

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

SPOKANE, Wash. -- A Spokane veteran of three wars died after collapsing in the parking lot of a veterans hospital where staffers called 911 instead of helping the man.

Clinton L. Fuller had a friend take him to Veterans Affairs Medical Center for treatment of asthma and emphysema when he collapsed mid-afternoon Sept. 30.

"This man who fought three wars was dying in front of the VA Hospital, and no one inside would help," said the Rev. Eugene Singleton, who drove Fuller. "I thought a professional person, no matter who you are, who has taken an oath to save lives, would help."

Medically, the patient was handled appropriately, said Joe Manley, director of the VA center, which had stopped offering nighttime care and was now closing at 4:30 p.m.

"The patient arrived at our facility in respiratory distress," he said. "The most skilled people we had went out to the patient, but you have to have the professional equipment to do the work."

The procedure Fuller needed would have required a tube being put down his throat to help him breathe, Manley explained.

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The timing, he said, had nothing to do with Fuller not being helped by VA staff.

"Calling the fire department was quicker than getting equipment and bringing it back out or finding someone who could offer the medical assistance," he said.

Singleton often drove Fuller, 83, to the VA hospital, where he was a regular patient.

On Sept. 30, Fuller's wife, Marilyn, called Singleton to again make the trip.

"After I got there, it took him a while to get out of the house. He brought a little bag with his Bible and such. He wanted to go to the hospital to be treated for his asthma and emphysema," said Singleton, a reverend at St. Matthew Institutional Baptist Church.

Nearing the hospital around 4:35 p.m., Singleton said his friend slumped over onto his shoulder, and he couldn't wake him.

Singleton ran into the urgent care center and yelled for help before returning with a wheelchair for Fuller.

A security guard came outside and said the center closed at 4:30 p.m. but 911 had been called.

Paramedics arrived within minutes and took Fuller to Deaconess Medical Center, where he died an hour and 10 minutes after collapsing.

Despite serving in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, Fuller was disrespected by VA hospital workers, said Singleton, who as a veteran himself said he'd never seek care at the hospital.

"I don't want to be treated like that," he said. "I get emotional every time I think about it."

The VA hospital, which underwent a $3.2 million expansion in 2005, eliminated the center's nighttime hours in July. Hospital officials said very few patients visited after 4:30 p.m.

---------------

Larry Scott

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Being familiar with Spokane VA, there is an emergency room there. Was it closed too, or why didn't the security guard wheel him over to er? Instead they called 911, waited for emergency response and transported him clear downtown from the north side. What's going on?

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Guest Dataman

I get care at VA Spokane. Last year they spent 1 Million Dollars remodeling the ER. Then in July they make it an Urgent Care Clinic (same day apts, walkin's).

When it was a ER, it was a JOKE. You would have to wait for hours with no one in the waiting room. Even then care was SUBSTANDARD beyond belief.

I had to get admitted in 2002 with major infection. Had Cracked tooth at had gone into the Jarbone. The Dentist told me to go to the ER and tell them to admit me. He sent one of his staff with me. I got turned away "Come back tomorrow". This did not make the Dental Clinic Happy. Dr Clapp (the Dentist) then personally went down and had it out with the ER Dr. I got admitted. No one else was in the ER Part of the room (Beds).

Last year I went to get Breathing Treatment. Went to Urgent Care, got there before they closed (1pm). But the next apt was 3pm. They said "Go to the ER" it will be faster than you waiting until 3pm. I waited until 5pm and never did get breathing treatment. I had to go to Holy Family. I had Pnemumia (sp).

Personally I thought closing down the ER was a Plus. It never was a FULL ER anyway. Anyone crashing would get transported to Holy Family anyway.

But they should have done something for him.

"The patient arrived at our facility in respiratory distress," the hospital director said. "The most skilled people we had went out to the patient, but you have to have the professional equipment to do the work," and with the ambulance showing up quickly, the VA nurse and physician did not tend to Fuller"

The Fire Department is about 2 Miles from the VA.

He needed to be Tubed. To do they it would require them bringing him in. SHould have happened.

I know I have told my wife if I am ever this sick. Take me anywhere but the VA Hospital to die.

My thoughts

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  • HadIt.com Elder
Being familiar with Spokane VA, there is an emergency room there. Was it closed too, or why didn't the security guard wheel him over to er? Instead they called 911, waited for emergency response and transported him clear downtown from the north side. What's going on?

Spokane VA sent notice out a couple of months ago advising registered veterns that they would be closing down the ER, after 1630 hrs, due to lack of use. New hours were to be 0800-1630hrs. Sad but doubt if he would have survived having been without air for 5 minutes, anyway. I should be so lucky to live to 83yo. 22 more years of VA comp? They'd find a way to kill me. lol jmo

pr

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The Sec of VA is going to have to come up with some answers for this death :

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/6420AP...s_McMorris.html

"Spokane

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Rep. Cathy McMorris has asked Veterans Affairs Secretary R. James Nicholson about the Spokane Veterans Medical Center's response to the collapse of an 83-year-old war veteran."

________________________________________________________________________________

____-

This event is so outrageous-if it happened around here I dont know what the VA would have done-

we are rural and most all responders to 911 ambulance calls are volunteers.ALs is a paid service.

I live where the annual New York Fall Foliage event took place this weekend.

Thousands of tourists pour into the village and particiate in the events. The weekend is topped off by fireworks.

We had an ambulance call at the firework display-someone was suffering an extreme anxiety attack.

Many combat vets cannot handle fireworks.The finale is when they light up everything they have left.

There was a 911 call and sure enough it sounded like the patient transport was to the local VA.

I wonder how that vet made out. Then again it is easy to misinterpret an ambulance scanner sometimes but

this story made me really wonder about our local VA's ER.

We have not heard the last on this one.

Pete- that point is well taken- it is difficult to get volunteers for local fire and ambulance departments. I was volunteer fire auxilliary for 8 years and just can't participate in it anymore. Lots of hard work that can completely burn you out.

One local fire/ambulance company ran an ad telling people not to get sick at night or on weekends as they could not attract enough volunteers to take the EMT courses.It helped them get some new members.

What gets me is that there are plenty of people around this area who could give these volunteer services a little of their time but they dont.

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I have been told that I should have no problems at VA cuase I am 100% and have critical issues. However, it never seems to work for me. I now just head to my Medicare HMO and let them take care of me.

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  • HadIt.com Elder
I have been told that I should have no problems at VA cuase I am 100% and have critical issues. However, it never seems to work for me. I now just head to my Medicare HMO and let them take care of me.

It's your life -- although we have both a va clinic and a va hospital in our area, neither offers true "emergency care" The emergency care section was closed at the hospital some time ago, and the floor space is used for routine medical exams, etc.

Even though no VA emergency care is available, you cannot get the VA to pay for emergency care in the "normal" medical care system.

1. It is impossible to obtain the approval.

2. Any medical insurance medicare, medicaid, or similar coverage will allow the VA to attempt to deny coverage.

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This really scare's me. Not for me but my spouse. I was driven to Seattle VA by my wife

about 2 years ago after midnight, I had a massive GI bleed in the gastric Varicies. I was seen triaged, stabilized and stomach drained of blood. I was then sent up to the Critical care unit where I spent the next week.

We live in a very rural area, the nearest hospital is about 40 to 50 miles away. I do have Medicare but the Doctors here refuse to deal with it, its worse than the VA because it does not pay Doctors well enough.

I hope the Seattle VA Hospital does not become that bad, its all I have....

Arch

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  • HadIt.com Elder

I think it is worse if you are a younger disabled vet because you may not be able to get medical insurance and have to depend on the VA. I have a friend who depends on the Fee Base from VA. He says it is not worth a damn and uses medicare. He is out in the woods a long way from any VAMC or clinic. I live about 15 miles from the busiest VAMC in the nation. I don't have much trouble getting appointments, but the VA does not volunteer to make appointments for you for MRI's or CT scans or anything to do with orthopedics. You really have to insist. The overall care is poor due to the vast number of patients and the pressure to move people down the line. All my primary care doctor does is check my meds. No physical exam. If I ask for something I get it but you need to tell them what you want and what your problem is because they will never find it on their own.

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Guest jstacy

This entire mess just goes to prove that in the terms of the VA, The almighty Dollar is more important than a Human Life. Substandard medical care, Wrong Diagnosis of Heart patients, Nurses shooting up morphine, C@P doctors not following correct procedures, Whats next? Its time Vets take control of their futures by applying joint pressure to congress to get it straightened out. Disabled Vets are people and taxpayers too.

If these same folks were running the show in the forties, We would all be speaking a mixture of German and Japanese.

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Arch

Seattle VA just became a Level II Trauma Center for the State of WA.

So we should be getting better emergency treatment now that have to pass more stringent tests.

GAWD HELP US in the clinics and the wards though !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • HadIt.com Elder
Arch

Seattle VA just became a Level II Trauma Center for the State of WA.

So we should be getting better emergency treatment now that have to pass more stringent tests.

GAWD HELP US in the clinics and the wards though !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The VA in Seattle - a level 2 trauma center - that's frightening! They don't even have to use licensed physicians. jmo

pr

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