Showing posts with label James A. Haley VA Medical Center. Show all posts
Showing posts with label James A. Haley VA Medical Center. Show all posts

Monday, August 26, 2019

Manufacturer ordered VA to destroy tubing, they used it in Florida anyway?

Did VA hospital leaders ignore recalls on faulty medical equipment?

Military Times
By: Leo Shane III
  August 26, 2019
Dennis McLain, head of the facility’s National Nurses United chapter, said the manufacturer of the IV tubing (BD, headquartered in New Jersey) issued an urgent recall of the equipment two weeks earlier, instructing hospitals to “destroy all products” found in their inventory.
Chemotherapy is administered to a cancer patient via intravenous drip at a North Carolina hospital in 2013. (Gerry Broome/AP)
Staffers at a Florida-based Veterans Affairs hospital say leadership ignored a medical equipment recall for weeks — even after a patient’s life was endangered — despite repeated warnings their inaction violated health and safety norms.

But officials at the James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital in Tampa said their week they have removed all of the faulty items without any harm to patients, dismissing concerns that proper procedures were not followed.

It’s unclear whether the dispute is isolated to the single VA medical center or indicative of larger problems with recall alerts throughout the nation’s veterans hospital system. Department of Veterans Affairs officials in Washington, D.C. referred all questions to local hospital officials.

At issue is a July 31 incident where a patient at the Tampa medical center received too much prescribed medication because of what nurses described as malfunctioning IV equipment. Tubing designed to slowly drip out fluids into the patient’s bloodstream instead allowed a rush of medication all at once. In a grievance filed with facility leadership, staff said a medical disaster was avoided only because nurses on duty quickly diagnosed and responded to the problem.
read it here

Saturday, September 2, 2017

PTSD Marine Treated Better in New Jersey--Slammed At Tampa VA?

Target 8: VA therapist tells Marine treated for PTSD he’s only there for the drugs

WFLA Channel 8 News
Steven Andrews
August 31, 2017

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Peter Surck spent 20 years in the U.S. Marine corps, including some harrowing moments in Iraq in a bloodbath called Mosul.
He remembers his first exposure to combat was like something out of a movie. “You heard the mosque music come out and then all of a sudden sheer hell broke loose, and fire started, enemy fire just started coming out, and our guys started firing back and everybody just started shooting,” Peter recalled.
Later in Liberia, Mr. Surck and dozens of his buddies became extremely ill from anti-malaria medication. Many, including him, contracted the disease. Peter claims he still suffers side effects.
“Horrible dreams, I get tremors once in awhile, I have neurological problems,” he added.
The Navy diagnosed Peter with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  The Department of Veterans Affairs treated him in New Jersey for years.
Last week he attended his first therapy session at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital’s Department of Mental Health.

Shockingly, their resident therapist told Peter he didn’t have PTSD–he was only there for the drugs.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

VA treats PTSD better than the private sector

Just a simple fact: The VA started all the research on PTSD, so you'd think they would be better prepared than the private sector. They have simply been doing it a lot longer. Veterans do not believe the private sector understands them at all.
Study finds that VA treats PTSD better than the private sector
Tampa Bay Times
By Les Neuhaus, Times Correspondent
May 30, 2016

"It either points to how good of a job the VA is doing or how bad of a job the private sector is doing."
Dr. Katherine Watkins
SEMINOLE — On May 10, 1967, U.S. Marine Corps infantryman John Paul was seriously wounded during a battle in South Vietnam's A Shau Valley near the North Vietnamese border.

"When I got hit, I was standing up,'' Paul, 67, recalled during a recent interview. "I was shot twice in the abdomen and left hip. … I thought I bought the farm."

He spent six months in a series of hospitals, and when he was discharged from the Marines, his limp was not his only reminder of his brush with death.

"I was a mess for years," he said, adding that he drank heavily to medicate the mixed feelings he had about the war.

In 1991, he started getting help for post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, at the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center at Bay Pines. A recent study published online in a journal produced by the American Psychiatric Association indicates he made a good choice.
read more here

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Tampa Veteran Can't Get VA To Pay Bill After Being Forced to Make Choice

Army veteran says she can't get the VA to pay for treatment related to disability Getting the VA to pay takes a year
ABC Action News
Jackie Callaway
May 24, 2016

TAMPA, Fla. - The choice card gives veterans who have been waiting more than 30 days for appointments or who live more than 40 miles from a VA facility the chance to see a private doctor.

For Army veteran Anna Harper a mix up on the VA's part nearly cost her her good credit.

Harper suffered multiple injuries during her training at Fort Hood, a service-connected disability that is covered by the VA.

Harper’s choice card enabled her to get X-rays at a local private facility versus driving an hour to the James A. Haley Hospital in Tampa.

The VA, not Harper, was responsible for the $400 bill. Still the doctor’s office sent her bills for upwards of a year because the VA never paid.

read more here

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Blown Up in Afghanistan--Identity Stolen At Haley VA Hospital

Woman indicted, accused of stealing the identity of Afghanistan war veteran
Tampa Bay Times

By Sara DiNatale, Times Staff Writer
Friday, April 1, 2016

Prince is also accused of filing false tax returns using the identities of four other victims, totaling more than $33,000, according to court records.
TAMPA — The day Army 1st Lt. Ryan Timoney arrived at the James A. Haley VA Medical Center, he was still recovering from a suicide bomber's blast in Afghanistan.

That same day in June 2012, Timoney's name, birth date and Social Security number were traded for crack cocaine.

David Lewis, the VA worker who gave up the personal information to feed his drug habit, has already been sentenced to six years in prison. Now, 31-year-old Nejah Prince is facing an indictment in federal court alleging aggravated identity theft and filing false tax returns, according to records filed Thursday.

Timoney, who had part of his leg amputated, first noticed something was amiss when he was mailed a receipt for a TV bought in his name.

According to the court filings, Prince used a Montgomery Ward credit card to buy a plasma screen television and cookware set for nearly $1,400 in February 2013. The credit card, the documents said, were in the name of someone with the initials "R.T."
read more here

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Tampa Veterans Suicide Prevention Gets Numbers Wrong

How the hell does anyone expect to change anything as long as they trivialize suicides down to a soundbite? Putting the numbers of veterans suffering is far more complicated than just using a headline. The truth is we will never really know the true number.

These are some of the numbers they do know about and it has been more of an apocalypse even with thousands of calls to suicide prevention hotlines, charities all over the country claiming to be taking care of them and Congress spending billions every year.

The rate of veterans committing suicide is double the civilian population with the majority of them being over 50. Then there is the other figure of young veterans committing suicide at triple the rate of their civilian peers.

For female veterans the number is even worse. But why talk about any of them? After all, after all the claims of doing everything humanly possible to save their lives, it seems hardly no one is telling the truth. The worst part of all of this is veterans have been committing suicide double the civilian population rate since before 2007 and that percentage has remained unchanged.

The Department of Veterans Affairs research on suicides used 22 as an average and the press picked up on it but they missed the fact that those numbers were from limited data submitted from just 21 states.
Further, this report contains information from the first 21 states to contribute data for this project and does not include some states, such as California and Texas, with larger Veteran populations.

Information from these states has been received and will be included in future reports.
Suicide among Veterans – As Reported on Death Certificates

Of the 147,763 suicides reported in 21 states, 27,062 (18.3%) were identified as having history of U.S. military service on death certificates. However, Veteran status was unknown or not reported for more than 23% (n=34,027) of all suicides during the project period. Without linking to VA or DoD resources to validate history of U.S. military service, it is necessary to remove those without information on history of military service from estimates of Veteran status among suicide decedents. Among cases where history of U.S. military service was reported, Veterans comprised approximately 22.2% of all suicides reported during the project period. If this prevalence estimate is assumed to be constant across all U.S. states, an estimated 22 Veterans will have died from suicide each day in the calendar year 2010.

Suicide Epidemic Among Veterans reported by CBS News November 13, 2007
"Dr. Steve Rathbun is the acting head of the Epidemiology and Biostatistics Department at the University of Georgia. CBS News asked him to run a detailed analysis of the raw numbers that we obtained from state authorities for 2004 and 2005.

It found that veterans were more than twice as likely to commit suicide in 2005 than non-vets. (Veterans committed suicide at the rate of between 18.7 to 20.8 per 100,000, compared to other Americans, who did so at the rate of 8.9 per 100,000.)"

So we have, as the following report shows, thousands of calls into the hotline but the numbers are showing one more thing no one talks about, the flip side of hell. Read the reports then go to the bottom for more.

Tampa Bay hotline aims at reducing veterans’ suicides
News Channel 8
By Steve Andrews Investigative Reporter
Published: September 4, 2015

TAMPA, FL (WFLA) – Every 65 minutes, a U.S. veteran takes his or her life. When army specialist Robert Bradford returned home from deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, his mother Monte Reinhardt, noticed a change. “He just wasn’t his usual playful self,” Monte recalls. She could see the depression in Robert’s eyes.

“At that point, I really didn’t know who to talk to about it,” she said.In July 2011, Robert tried to commit suicide. Nearly four months ago, in May, he died at the James A. Haley veterans hospital, from complications associated with his wound.

“The suicide rate alone for veterans right now is currently 22 veterans a day, that’s almost one veteran an hour,” said Jamie McPherson, an intervention specialist working at the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay. More than 300,000 veterans call Tampa Bay home. The Crisis Center hears from troubled veterans everyday.

“Upwards of about 2,500 to 3,000 calls on any given year were from veterans needing assistance,” Debra Harris, a director of 2-1-1 and suicide prevention services said. Debra points out the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs as well as other state agencies and funding sources are trying a revolutionary project in the bay area.
read more here

You really want to reduce these veterans to a soundbite? Here's one. "2 Veterans Commit Suicide For Every 1 Civilian." How's that? Is that easy enough? Then consider one more fact.
How Many Veterans Are There?
There are 21.8 million veterans of the U.S. armed forces as of 2014, according the Census Bureau, approximately 10 percent of whom are women. To put that in context there are 319.2 million Americans, according to the bureau. The states with the highest number of veteran residents are California with 2 million, Texas with 1.6 million and Florida also with 1. 6 million, the bureau estimates. Each of these states have major military bases including Fort Hood in Texas, Fort Irwin in California and Naval Air Station Pensacola.

While it is true we will never know the real number of veterans committing suicide, the "22 a Day" claim is not even close.

So why isn't anyone asking why there are so many when the Suicide Prevention Hotlines get thousands of calls? Because if they did, then they would finally understand as bad as the numbers are, they would be even higher without the hotline.

Stunning when you think about these men and women were ready to sacrifice their lives for someone else, survived combat but couldn't survive back home.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Veteran Survived 3 Tours, Attempted Suicide But Not Tampa VA Hospital

Mom questions care at Tampa V.A. hospital
News Channel 8
By Steve Andrews Investigative Reporter
Published: August 29, 2015
Robert Bradford arrived at Haley in May 2012. He suffered paralysis from a gunshot wound to the neck. Robert did two tours of duty in Iraq, a third in Afghanistan. It wasn’t an enemy bullet that turned him into a quadriplegic. Suffering invisible wounds from post traumatic stress disorder, he attempted suicide in 2011. By the time he arrived in Tampa, his mother recalls Robert was eating a regular diet, moved about the grounds with his power chair and went on outings everyday. However, his condition deteriorated and in March of this year Monte told V.A. Secretary McDonald, she wanted her son “out of this grave yard.”
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) – The mother of a U.S. Army soldier claims the military sent her son to fight a war at the James A. Haley Veterans Administration hospital without ammunition.

Monte Reinhardt claims her quadriplegic son received substandard care, contracted infections and lived in unsanitary conditions. Her son Army Specialist Robert Bradford was a patient at Haley’s Spinal Cord Injury Center for three years.

“He didn’t really receive top notch care, he really didn’t,” Monte stated.

So earlier this year she fired off a letter to V.A. secretary Robert McDonald complaining of “unsafe staffing levels, no respect for sanitation practices,” pointing out Robert’s gums “are near rotten.”

“When I would brush his teeth, and I would not be rushed, the toothbrush would be bloody,” Monte added.

She wrote McDonald, that Robert contracted “a new infection weekly.”

“He would have a U.T.I.(urinary tract infection) and a couple of times it would get to the point where it was just flat out red,” she explained.
Robert died two days after surgery. His uniform shirt now hangs on a chair in her apartment.
The flag that draped his casket sits on a cabinet beside an urn that contains his ashes. read more here

Monday, July 20, 2015

Wounded Afghanistan Veteran Plans to Leave Wheelchair at Tampa VA

Wounded war veteran returns to Ark. hometown
THV 11 News
July 19, 2015

While his recovery has been rough, Moore is adamant about his future. He plans to return to the VA in Tampa to continue his recovery, and says he will stay there until he's out of his wheelchair.

War veteran Carl Wayne Moore III reunites with his family at Toad Suck.
(Photo: Jan Collins)

CONWAY, Ark. (KTHV) -A veteran, who was severely wounded during his second tour in Afghanistan, finally returned to his hometown on Sunday.

Carl Wayne Moore III was hurt in action on June 4, 2013 and has spent the last two years traveling to several states in the U.S. just trying recover and learn how to live with a spinal cord injury.
read more here

Sunday, May 17, 2015

VA Inspector General Reports Include Tampa

VA mismanagement, malpractice detailed in reports 
Military Times
By Patricia Kime, Staff writer
May 17, 2015

More than 120 previously unpublished investigations by the Veterans Affairs Department's inspector general, dating as far back as 2006, reveal problems at VA medical centers nationwide ranging from medical malpractice and patient safety concerns to mismanagement, infighting and corruption.

VA Assistant Inspector General John Daigh posted the reports on the VA inspector general's website in April after receiving criticism that his office failed to disclose results of an investigation into the Tomah Wisconsin VA Medical Center charging that a psychiatrist prescribed dangerous amounts of painkillers and other medications to patients, resulting in at least one death.

Daigh told lawmakers he did not "hide" the results of the Tomah investigation and explained that he routinely closes investigations for a variety of reasons — either the facility under investigation has taken steps to correct the issue, a lawsuit has been filed over an incident, or, in the case of Tomah, allegations were not substantiated.

But lawmakers say procedures that allow VA facilities to fix themselves after being investigated by the department's inspector general make no sense.

Pointing to scandals that have plagued VA in the past year, ranging from off-the-books appointment wait lists to construction overruns totaling more than $1 billion to whistleblower intimidation and more, House and Senate lawmakers continue to question VA's commitment to transparency.
In Tampa, Florida, a physician at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital was counseled for more than two years by supervisors for prescribing controlled substances at rates "significantly higher than his peers."

The inspector general found that efforts to mentor the doctor "did not result in changes to his prescribing practices." But because the hospital was proactive in counseling the physician, the IG recommended only that supervisors also notify the Professional Standards Board and closed the case.

"While there was potential for harm to patients, we didn't find any patients that were harmed," the IG office wrote in the report.

Other reports ranged from poor practices to misrepresentation of credentials to doctor errors.
read more here

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Second Veteran Received Wrong Records From Tampa VA

Second Tampa Bay veteran received someone else's medical records
By Shannon Behnken
Updated: Jan 26, 2015

A second Tampa Bay area veteran received someone else's confidential medical records in the mail.

8 On Your Side reported about a case last week when a woman found another veteran's records in her mail, and now another veteran has stepped forward.

Randy Blackford, of Port Richey, received a letter denying his disability compensation from the Veteran's Administration. That was bad enough, but, tucked inside, Blackford found the name, social security number and medical information belonging to another veteran.

"I'm worried somebody's information," Blackford said. "I've got this guys'. Hey, they probably got mine somewhere floating around."

The same thing happened to Carol McBride, who served in the Navy, when she got copies of her medical file from the Veteran's Administration.

When her 1,500 pages of medical records arrived, she found someone else's records sandwiched between hers. There are three EKG reports and doctor's notes for a man who was in the Army in the 1980's. His name, social security number and date of birth are right there: Everything someone would need for identity theft.

"I know more about him than I should know about him, and had it been someone who's not honest, they could have taken quite a bit of advantage of him," McBride said. "I shouldn't have to deal with this ... "I don't want to be responsible for someone else's medical records."

McBride also worries that if she has someone's records by mistake, someone else could have hers. After all, she ordered her file to make sure all of her records are there. She's battling with the VA over her compensation amount for a disability. She questions whether all of her records are there and wonders if this man needs the documents she now has.
read more here
WFLA News Channel 8

Monday, January 19, 2015

Combat Wounded Staff Sgt. Tavera Retired From Army

Wounded vet given several standing ovations in retirement sendoff 
Tampa Bay Times
Rich Shopes Times
Staff Writer
Friday, January 16, 2015
Retired Army Lt. Gen. Susan Lawrence gave a tribute Friday to Staff Sgt. Joel Tavera, here with his parents, Maritza and Jose Tavera. Joel Tavera was badly injured in a rocket attack. Rich Shopes, Times

TAMPA — Joel Tavera was five months into his deployment in Iraq when a rocket ripped into the vehicle he was riding in, killing everyone except Tavera and another soldier.

Burns covered 60 percent of Tavera's body. Exploding shrapnel and the blast's concussion left him with severe brain trauma that took his sight. His right leg was amputated below the knee. He lost several fingers. Doctors weren't sure he'd survive the trip to a hospital in San Antonio.

"Against all odds he recovered from injuries that most people wouldn't have survived from," said Dr. Steven Scott, who specializes in traumatic brain injuries at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa.

Enduring more than 75 surgeries, Tavera, 27, became an inspiration to other wounded vets, as well as doctors, nurses and just about anyone he encountered.

"He's one of the most positive people you'll ever meet," said Taylor Urruela, a former Army sergeant who lost his right leg to an improvised explosive device in 2006. "And it comes through right away, as soon as you meet him."

On Friday, Staff Sgt. Tavera officially retired from the Army. The Army, in turn, wasn't about to let Tavera go quietly. Top brass organized a send off at Haley replete with commendations, letters of proclamation, including one from President Obama, and more than a few heartfelt tributes.
read more here

Monday, October 6, 2014

Tampa VA Hospital Workers had to be told to answer the phone?

Tampa VA hospital boss to employees: Answer the phones
Tampa Bay Online
By Howard Altman
Tribune Staff
Published: October 6, 2014

One of the biggest complaints about the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital is the time it takes to get someone there to answer the phone.

Kathleen Fogarty, director of the Tampa hospital, wants to change that.

On Monday morning, she sent an email blast to all 4,900 hospital employees calling on them to be ready to take incoming calls.

“The number one thing you can do to build trust, improve access and better serve our patients is to answer the phone and to call veterans back in a timely manner,” she wrote in an email sent to all employees.

“We get feedback about the frustration of calling our medical center just about every time we engage with our veterans. They wait to get through, and once they do, the phones just rings on the other end – sometimes for 20 minutes or more! – or they never get a return call if they leave voicemail.

“It is everyone’s responsibility to answer the phone. It is the first rule of good customer service and to be a five-star organization we must answer calls in a timely manner and return voicemail messages.”
read more here

Sunday, August 24, 2014

VA Contractor Put Veterans Info in Hands of Tampa Criminal

Man accused of stealing Haley VA patient ID info
Tampa Bay Times
William R. Levesque
Times Staff Writer
Friday, August 22, 2014
VA policy requires a criminal background check for employees. It is unclear if that policy extends to contractors. The VA revamped rules concerning document shredding in 2008 after investigators found that agency employees improperly destroyed veteran claim documents.

TAMPA — The documents with the Social Security numbers of veterans treated at the James A. Haley VA Medical Center were supposed to be shredded by a company whose website warns, "Don't become a victim of identity theft."

But the firm, federal prosecutors say, employed a 24-year-old with a criminal history who kept those records out of the shredder, instead selling them to individuals who used the documents to file fraudulent tax returns.

Federal marshals on Wednesday arrested Willie Streater of E Hamilton Avenue in Tampa on eight charges accusing him of stealing the Social Security numbers of at least 34 veterans treated at Haley in 2011 and 2012. Prosecutors say $1.1 million was stolen.

It is the second case filed since 2013 charging someone with stealing identifying information of veterans treated at Haley.

Streater worked for Secure Waste Disposal Inc. of Orlando, a company under contract with the Department of Veterans Affairs to shred documents at the North Tampa hospital, prosecutors say. The indictment did not say what kind of patient records were involved in the case.
read more here

Friday, March 7, 2014

Over 100 Veterans' identities traded for crack at Tampa VA

Former VA worker gets six years for trading IDs for crack
Posted: Mar 06, 2014

A former employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs was sentenced to six years in federal prison Thursday morning for the theft of more than 100 veterans' personal information.

U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Hernandez-Covington sentenced David F. Lewis for access device fraud and aggravated identity theft.

According to court documents and testimony presented in court, Lewis was an employee at the Tampa VA Medical Center.

On at least five different dates in 2012, Lewis accessed and printed the personal information, including names, social security numbers, and medical information of over 100 veterans who were in-patients at the Tampa VA Medical Center.
read more here

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Wounded warriors maintain fighting spirit on the mat at Fort Stewart

Wounded warriors maintain fighting spirit on the mat
Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie Widemond
December 16, 2013

Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie Widemond
Wounded warrior, Spc. Kristian Cedeno, demonstrates how he is able to fight and help their fellow soldiers during level 2 Army Combatives certification class.

FORT STEWART, Ga. - The Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness program helps to build a soldier’s resiliency so that he can endure and bounce back from whatever situation he may find himself in. The five pillars of strength: social, emotional, family, spiritual, and physical, form an optimal foundation for recovery.

“I was deployed to Afghanistan in 2010, and the IED detection dog alerted me. I thought, ‘the IED is between me and the dog’, but when I turned it was right next to me. I don’t remember much except that I was hurt, but I didn’t know what happened until later,” recalls Rick Cicero, a former paratrooper who volunteers much of his time helping others recover.

He had been a military paratrooper and civilian police officer. He was on his second deployment to Afghanistan as a military contractor when he lost both his arm and his leg on his right side. His recovery took place at the Tampa Veteran’s Administration hospital.

“I went from the guy that runs into fires to the guy that’s stuck in a wheelchair—a victim waiting to happen,” he said.

After three years of recovery and coming to the realization that he can still be the guy that runs into fires, he put together an adaptive combatives program and goes around helping wounded warriors on the road to recovery.

“He cares about fellow warriors and their recovery both psychological and physical,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony Perry, command sergeant major for 1st Battalion, 306th Infantry Regiment, 188th Infantry Brigade. He lost his leg in Dec 2010 while deployed with 101st Airborne Division. He said that his key to recovery was aligning himself with the right people.
read more here

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Nam Knights Westside Chapter annual pig roast for Haley House

This just made my day! We couldn't make it out there but very happy it was a success. These guys are amazing!
Nam Knights Westside Draws Motorcyclists to the Cause
Representatives from the Haley House Fund talk about their cause and give thanks for the annual Nam Knights Westside Chapter charity pig roast fundraiser, held this year at Winthrop in Riverview on April 6.
By Linda Chion Kenney

A scene from the 2013 annual Nam Knights Westside Chapter pig roast charity fundraiser at the Winthrop Pole Barn in Riverview. Credit: Linda Chion Kenney

For seven of the nine years the Haley House Fund has been in existence the Nam Knight Westside Chapter has held an annual pig roast fundraiser at Winthrop to raise funds for the fund's mission.

"It's gone quite well," said Vietnam veteran Dave Braun, a former honrary mayor of Brandon, who heralded the Haley House Fund formation years ago at a Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce Event. "We're all proud of doing what we're doing and for who we're doing it for, which are our most injured soldiers, at the James Haley Veterans Hospital. Our focus is on the families and friends of these soldiers, we put them up."

Braun spoke his mind at the seventh annual charity pig roast fundraiser, held April 6 at the Winthrop Pole Barn in Riverview.

"In my view, there are three things necessary for a soldier's rehabiliation," he said. "One, the best doctors and staff. Two, the best facility possible. Number three, and not necessarily in that order, family members at their bedside, and that's where we come in."

Mary Ann Keckler, with the aid of Mary Ellen Harlan and Dr. Steven Scott, founded the Haley House Fund, a charity that houses and supports the families of soldiers cared for at the James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital in Tampa, at 13000 Bruce B. Downs Blvd.
read more here

Monday, March 25, 2013

Nursing shortage at Tampa VA leaves veterans suffering

Union: Haley VA has critical nursing shortage
William R. Levesque
Times Staff Writer
Saturday, March 23, 2013

TAMPA — Army Staff Sgt. Alex Dillmann, his spine severely wounded by an explosion in Afghanistan, said his nurses at the James A. Haley VA Medical Center were horribly overworked and short-staffed.

He said his wound dressing wasn't changed often enough nor would he get pain medication promptly. If he soiled himself, Dillmann said, it could take 40 minutes for a nurse to answer a call button.

His wife started doing some of the nurse's work herself out of necessity, the couple said. Finally, Dillmann asked the Army to send him to another hospital. In September 2012, he transferred to a private Atlanta facility.

"Things were just being overlooked," said Dillmann, 27, of Tampa, who is now out of the hospital.

"You feel powerless to do anything about it. I got out. But I know there are soldiers still dealing with the same problems."

Haley, one of the nation's busiest veterans hospitals and one of just five with a polytrauma center for the most critically wounded troops, has a severe nursing shortage that is endangering patients, according to the facility's nursing union, National Nurses United.
read more here

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Suicides and spying at Tampa VA?

Yesterday I received two emails about James A. Haley Veterans Hospital (Tampa VA) and I struggled with wanting to post it but being unable to verify the stories. Today the senders responded with pleas for help. While I am not a reporter and do not have the means to verify these allegations, if they are serious enough for these two people to be reaching out, they need to be investigated!

"Unfortunately, this veteran's death remains one of Haley's well kept secrets. My prayers remain with his loved ones and their unanswered questions. We witnessed this vet motionless; and slumped over in his chair in an enormous pool of blood. His identity was protected with a white sheet that was placed over his head. His name remains unknown.

Therefore, I named him the Valentine Veteran.

Unfortunately, multiple suicides are taking place in or on the premises at Haley; and kept a secret. This is obviously their last cry for help! The very next day there was no sympathy or remorse. For the most part, if the nation realized how many vets took their lives at this one hosspital in a short timeframe. Suicide amongst vets will be taken more seriously. These actions are blatant disrespectf to all veterans; especially, those vets suffering with PTSD and suicidal ideations!

There was a VA chaplain present the entire time. She was compassionate, understanding and hurt. Most importantly, she is a vet. Therefore, she provided support for the bystanders...Kathie, if possible can you pass this story along; and maybe one day this veteran's last cry for help may be heard?"
Where are the reporters with the means to cover this story? Where are the elected representatives of this state?

The other email came from a Korean War veteran's family member about the hidden camera in his room. The email stated Tampa VA has refused to release the taped videos to the family.

Tampa VA removes hidden camera
VA says covert camera was only one hidden, no plans to use again
By Matt Grant
CREATED AUG. 9, 2012

FORT MYERS - The James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital has removed a covert camera hidden inside a smoke detector that was used to videotape brain damaged Korean War veteran Joseph Carnegie against his family's wishes.

Congress began investigating the Tampa VA's use of covert cameras last week. The VA tells Fox 4 the type of camera used to monitor Carnegie's condition was the only one they've ever used like that.

"There are currently no cameras of this type installed, in use or in stock for use at Tampa VA," said spokesperson Mary Kay Hollingsworth. "The camera which was removed from Mr. Carnegie's room will not be placed back into stock."
read more here

James A. Haley VA reports contradict its claims on covert camera

Senator Nelson wants answers on hidden camera at Tampa VA

Vietnam veteran's suffering causes new allegations against Tampa VA

Again, where are the reporters? Why aren't they fully investigating this? Why do veterans feel they have no other choice but to contact a blogger tracking reports?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Vietnam veteran's suffering causes new allegations against Tampa VA

New allegations against Tampa VA
Congressional investigation expected to finish in February
By Matt Grant
CREATED DEC. 20, 2012

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - There are new, disturbing allegations against the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa.

Despite the Tampa VA's promise to clean up its act another soldier's family is speaking out accusing the VA of providing sub-standard care.

"I could not go home at night living with myself," said Port Charlotte resident Suzanne Wager, "if I treated my parents the way my father-in-law has been treated. I am disgusted."

Fighting back tears, Suzanne, a nursing assistant, said she is livid over how the Tampa VA is treating her father-in-law.

'Negligent care?'

"It's negligent care," she said. "That's how I feel."

Ralph Wager, 72, a retired air force mechanic was admitted after Thanksgiving suffering from a lingering spinal injury from Vietnam.
read more here

Monday, October 22, 2012

Amateur researcher found dark secret tied to James A. Haley Veterans Hospital

Vet takes issue with hospital's namesake
The Tampa Tribune
Published: October 22, 2012


Bob Sawallesh figures he has spent thousands of hours over the years helping patients at the James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital.

He has driven them to appointments, interviewed homeless veterans to help them get assistance and worked with the wounded and their families.

But in all that time, the retired Army lieutenant colonel from Valrico never saw a picture of the hospital's namesake prominently displayed.

Curious, Sawallesh began to look into Haley. Always interested in research, he spent hours in front of the computer, in dusty library stacks and going through boxes of documents.

What he found spurred him to ask that the hospital's name be changed.

In 1945, Haley was sent to prison for what prosecutors say was his role in one of the worst fires in the nation's history — a blaze at a Ringling Brothers circus show in Hartford, Conn., that killed 168 and injured nearly 500 others.

"How can you name a hospital that treats severely burned combat veterans after a man who spent time in jail for a fire that killed so many?" asks Sawallesh.
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