V.A. Hospital: a Model for health Care? Not if you have Cancer


VA Medical Center Tainted Endoscopy equipment, 5 HIV 11 HEP | Photo 04

VA Medical Center Tainted Endoscopy equipment, 5 HIV 11 HEP | Photo 04

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V.A. Hospital: a Model for health Care?  Not if you have Cancer

For patients with prostate cancer, it is a common surgical procedure: a doctor implants dozens of radioactive seeds to attack the disease. But when Dr. Gary D. Kao treated one patient at the veterans’ hospital in Philadelphia, his aim was more than a little off.

Most of the seeds, 40 in all, landed in the patient’s healthy bladder, not the prostate.

It was a serious mistake, and under federal rules, regulators investigated. But Dr. Kao, with their consent, made his mistake all but disappear.

He simply rewrote his surgical plan to match the number of seeds in the prostate, investigators said.

The revision may have made Dr. Kao look better, but it did nothing for the patient, who had to undergo a second implant. It failed, too, resulting in an unintended dose to the rectum. Regulators knew nothing of this second mistake because no one reported it.

On a personal note, I am a former health care provider for the VA.  I am also a patient.  Recently I went to see my doctor for medication renewal and found my Harvard Doctor had been replaced by a nurse pracicioner who did not have the scope of practice to treat all of my disabilities.  She was unable to write perscritions for some of my medications.  What happened next was that one of my medications I had been on for nearly ten years was not refilled.  If this medication is stopped abruptly, serious side affects can result.  During a 90 mile drive, the reactions was so strong that I lost control of my vehicle and ran off the road.  I became quite dizzy and had vertigo that could have been deadly to myself and others. 

The concern is that if this type of treatment is hapening to other veterans due to budget issues, how much more dangerious would it become if the VA Modality is used for Health Care Reform?  Not too long ago in several VA Medical Centers, endoscopy equipment was not properly sterialized and thousand of Veterans were exposed to HIV, Hepititis, and other deseases. 


Failed Prostate Procedures at the Philadelphia V.A. Document Reader: Inside a Patient’s Medical Records

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