Treatment Delays Killed 19 Veterans in VA Facilities — Report

Eighty-two veterans have suffered serious injury, are dying, or have been killed because of delays in certain diagnosis and treatments.

National Journal
Jordain Carney
Jan. 31, 2014, 5:27 a.m.

At least 19 vet­er­ans have died at VA hos­pit­als be­cause of delays in treat­ment, ac­cord­ing to in­tern­al doc­u­ments from the De­part­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs.

The doc­u­ments, ob­tained by CNN, refer to vet­er­ans dia­gnosed with can­cer between 2010 and 2011.

The 19 vet­er­ans are part of a lar­ger group of at least 82 vet­er­ans who have died, are dy­ing, or have been ser­i­ously in­jured be­cause of delay in the treat­ment or dia­gnos­is of colono­scop­ies and en­do­scop­ies.

10 of the 19 died in South Car­o­lina or Geor­gia, while five died in VA fa­cil­it­ies in Flor­ida. An­oth­er 14 vet­er­ans or their fam­ily mem­bers in Flor­ida were told that a delay in or not re­ceiv­ing a dia­gnos­is or treat­ment had caused “ad­verse events,” ac­cord­ing to the doc­u­ments.

But it’s un­clear if any­one in­volved at the VA has been rep­rim­anded, de­moted, or fired for the delays.

The De­part­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs is­sued a state­ment in re­sponse to CNN’s in­vest­ig­a­tion, with Dr. Robert Pet­zel, the Un­der Sec­ret­ary for Health at the de­part­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs, not­ing that “as a res­ult of the con­sult delay is­sue VA dis­covered at two of our med­ic­al cen­ters, the Vet­er­ans Health Ad­min­is­tra­tion (VHA) con­duc­ted a na­tion­al re­view of con­sults across the sys­tem. We have re­designed the con­sult pro­cess to bet­ter mon­it­or con­sult timeli­ness.”

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