Retired LTCOL Allen B West, a former Congressman, has seen a disturbing set of photographs from the Veterans Hospital in Durham, North Carolina. The photos of veterans lying on the floor and the reports of staff behavior cause him wonder about the new head of the VA. Read Mr. West’s concerns in this article.
As Written By Allen B. West:
I guess some things never change.
Everyone is undoubtedly focused on President Trump’s speech to a joint session of Congress – and here’s my assessment of it. His speech gave more reason than any president in recent history (certainly the last eight years of recent history), to make Americans proud.
Nonetheless, I am ashamed we still have evidence of a very serious issue with the VA system.
As reported by the Washington Free Beacon, “An elderly veteran lay on the floor in pain and resorted to using his bag of medication as a pillow while waiting at a Veterans Affairs medical center in Durham, North Carolina on Friday.
Stephen McMenamin, a former U.S. Marine who was seeking care, and his wife posted photos of the scene on Facebook and said a nurse at the VA center yelled at the veteran for laying on the floor, Atlanta’s WSB-TV reported Monday night. “My wife found it upsetting, so she took a couple pictures,” McMenamin told the news station, describing how he witnessed another veteran on the ground using his bag of medication for a pillow after being denied a reclining chair.
The elderly patient told the nurse that he could not get off the floor, according to McMenamin. “The nurse started yelling at him, telling him he can’t do that. He’s like, ‘I can’t get up and I won’t get up. I will be here until you can see me. Can I please have a blanket?’” he said.
McMenamin’s wife Hannah described in her Facebook post that multiple other veterans in wheelchairs had to wait hours to get care. The VA hospital’s chief executive nurse said the incident is being investigated, WSB reported. Rep. Robert Pittenger (R., N.C.) suggested this type of activity from the VA was not surprising. “It’s absolutely tragic,” he said. “It’s frankly reflective of what we’ve seen from the VA, and that’s why I sponsored last year and this year, the VA Accountability Act.” The commander of North Carolina’s Veterans of Foreign Wars branch said the situation has improved significantly in the state. But he added that if what is depicted in the photos turns out to be true, the staff responsible should be fired.”
Sadly, if history is a precedent, no one will be fired — if anything they will be transferred. How much more do we need to see and be witness to before we realize there’s a a systemic issue in the VA system?
This is what angers me the most: the new secretary of the Veterans Administration, Dr. David Shulkin, is the first secretary ever not to have served in our military. Also, Dr. Shulkin is the former head of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) under Barack Obama…the VHA is directly responsible for the VA hospitals. What is further telling is that Shulkin was confirmed by the Senate… wait for it, 100-0. Yes, not a single senator voted against Shulkin; every Senate Democrat voted for him. What does that tell you?
I have to ask, why would President Donald Trump elevate to the level of secretary of the VA someone who was head of the VA Hospitals in the previous administration? Frankly, I have no confidence that Dr. Shulkin is going to correct the problems at the VA.
It’s simple: because Shulkin during his confirmation hearing never mentioned the issue of breaking up the abhorrent culture at the VA. He never spoke about assailing the union bureaucracy that allows no one to be fired — no consequences, no ramifications for the appalling treatment of our veterans.
So not even 45 days into the Trump administration we have this, and what shall happen? No, we don’t need another stupid investigation that ends up going nowhere. Someone needs to be sent home, and I mean yesterday.
Unfortunately, this story was overshadowed by the REALLY important story of Kellyanne Conway kneeling on a couch in the Oval Office. This is just how dumbfounded we’ve become in America. Yep, someone yells “squirrel” and we go running elsewhere.
What happened at the VA Medical Center in Durham, NC can no longer be defined as an isolated incident. We’ve seen this story play out all too often and we’ve shared it with you here. When will this end? Needless to say, the progressive socialists of the left will never attack this issue, hence why every single Senate Democrat voted for Dr. Shulkin.
For the liberal progressives, the socialized healthcare system of the Veterans Health Administration is just what they desire for us all. It’s the model and they’ll never allow it to be revised and improved. This is why the major question posed by the Senate Democrats to Shulkin during his confirmation hearing centered on the issue of “privatizing” the VA. What they fear is allowing our veterans the ability to have a choice as to where they get quality …..