Friday, November 29, 2013

VA officials probe how its hospital treated blind Las Vegas veteran

VA investigators sent text messages in North Las Vegas probe
VA officials probe how its hospital treated blind Las Vegas veteran
November 27, 2013

Sandi Niccum is shown slumped in a hospital waiting room on one of her last days. She was blind and in severe pain. (Courtesy Dee Redwine)

The House Veterans Affairs Committee and local VA officials are probing allegations that staff at the VA Medical Center in North Las Vegas mistreated a blind veteran who was writhing in pain while she waited six hours for emergency care at the center on Oct. 22.

The long wait compounded by frustration with incomplete radiology orders and alleged rude treatment increased 78-year-old Sandi Niccum’s frustration to the point that she would pound her walking cane on the hospital floor.

“Several times she would just beat it on the floor and say, ‘Please somebody help me.’ But they didn’t. Nobody cared,” said Niccum’s friend, Dee Redwine, who was with her through the ordeal.

The Navy veteran, described by her aide, Shirley Newsham, as a “brittle diabetic,” had been a volunteer for the VA’s Visually Impairment Services Team for at least eight years. She died Nov. 15 at a local hospice.

Before she died, Niccum asked Redwine to write a chronology of the VA experience and submit it to the Review-Journal.
Her blindness stemmed from diabetes developed during her fifth year of active duty with the Navy Medical Corps as a medic for the Marine Corps at Parris Island, S.C. She was honorably discharged in 1958. She lost vision in one eye in 1983 and the other eye three years later.

Suffering from septic shock from the ruptured abscess in her colon, she died in her sleep about 2 a.m. on Nov. 15. The exact cause of death was unknown, Redwine said.

Niccum’s ashes will be buried at the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City at 10 a.m. on Dec. 12 with full military honors.

Donations can be made in her name to the Blinded Veterans Association, P.O. Box 46272, Las Vegas, NV 89114.

Contact reporter Keith Rogers at or 702-383-0308.

read more here

No comments:

Post a Comment

If it is not helpful, do not be hurtful. Spam removed so do not try putting up free ad.