Tuesday, March 6, 2007

On My Mind -- From Baghdad to Black Mold...The Fiasco at Walter Reed Hospital

Today, wounded Iraq and Afghanistan veterans testified before Congress about the horrible conditions at Walter Reed Hospital. Rodent and cockroach infestations, black mold, asbestos, and an outrageously byzantine bureaucracy made recovery and rehabilitation nearly impossible for the thousands of troops who wait patiently for medical treatment at Walter Reed and other VA Hospitals around the country. Intrepid reporting--real muckracking--by Washington Post reporters Dana Priest and Anne Hull exposed the deplorable conditions returning soldiers face when they come home from war. Their investigations into conditions at Walter Reed, first published two weeks ago, led to the firing of the Army Secretary, a two-star general, Congressional hearings, and the appointment of two special commissions to further investigate the shoddy treatment of veterans. Since the Post articles shined a bright light on this dark and shameful situation, stories of neglect and substandard care have flooded in from soldiers, their family members, veterans, doctors and nurses working inside the system. No matter what you think about the war, veterans deserve decent health care in return for their sacrifices.

All the latest articles about the failures at Walter Reed and VA hospitals around the country can be found here.

Click here for a video report

"On My Mind" is a column designed to encourage discussion within the medical community about politics and health issues. The writer of this column is a professor of American history and has an unhealthy obsession for politics.

Please post your comments by clicking on "comments" below.


Rahul said...

I work as an emergency physician at an large academic medical center in NYC but do work at the VA hospital as a moonlighting opportunity. Taking care of VA patients is extremely satisfying as most of these patients are very grateful and very appreciative. Seeing the recent events about the conditions at Walter Reed left a bad taste in my mouth and I don't want people to think that the entire VA system is flawed. From my experience the VA patients here in NY receive excellent health care from very competent providers. We should all put our political beliefs about the war aside and should focus on providing the best care to our veterans.

N=1 said...

I think that overall, it's the system failures, and not the provider failures that are at issue. Thanks for posting this - well done and interesting POV. I have been posting about the system side of the issues relative to military healthcare and continuity of care/appropriate patient settings.