According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
Veterans’ Administration physician accused of botching cancer treatment
The expert assigned by the Veterans Administration to “touch up” the treatment of veterans given the wrong doses of radiation for prostate cancer in Philadelphia was accused in federal lawsuits of botching the radiation treatments for three of his patients.
Court records show Kent Wallner, the Seattle VA physician, was accused in lawsuits against the VA of causing extensive damage to three veterans being treated for prostate cancer. Two of the three cases were settled for $1 million apiece. The third case was dismissed, and an appeal to the Supreme Court is being considered.
“This is truly the fox guarding the hen house,” said Ann R. Deutscher, a Seattle lawyer who represented the veterans in the cases involving Wallner. “I’m just astounded,” she said when informed the eight patients from Philadelphia were sent to Wallner.
It should be noted that the third case that was dismissed:
Deutscher represents a third veteran, Michael B. Marley, who was treated by Wallner. Marley is considering an appeal of his case’s dismissal.
Deutscher charged that an assistant U.S. attorney sent a misleading letter to Marley, an elderly and disabled veteran who lives alone in a trailer in Alaska. As a result of the letter, she said Marley agreed to withdraw his original lawsuit under the mistaken belief that he could refile it. However, the statute of limitations expired.
The third plaintiff was an elderly, disabled veteran that lives alone in a trailer in Alaska.
Don’t worry the VA is using this experience as a learning experience, of course at the cost of our Veterans (emphasis mine):
“When the department discovered a problem with the brachytherapy, all affected veterans were informed and treated. The VA is actively using this experience to implement stricter protocols of accountability and transparency throughout the department,” Roberts wrote in an e-mail.
An investigation of the suspended program at the Philadelphia VA showed insufficient doses of the radioactive seeds were administered to 57 patients, while 35 received excessive doses. In some cases, according to the report, the seeds ended up in the wrong organ, causing serious internal injury.
Why was the program suspended? 92 of OUR Veterans were impacted – what happened to the other 89 not mentioned in this article?
Today there was a hearing at the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and in the opening statement of Hon. Harry E. Mitchell, Chairman, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations he states (emphasis mine):
In 2003 and 2005, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) received reports of botched placement of radioactive seeds and inconsistent dosage at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center. After careful review, it was determined that no NRC protocols were violated. In May of last year, the NRC received a notification of potential under dosing at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center. This led to a VA National Health Physics Program Inspection (NHPP), evaluating all 116 brachytherapy treatments that took place since the creation of the program in 2002.
The New York Times reported last month that investigators for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and VA officials found that 92 of the 116 men treated at the VA Medical Center in Philadelphia’s brachytherapy program received incorrect doses of the radiation seeds, often because they landed in nearby organs or surrounding tissue, rather than the prostate. Dr. Gary Kao, who is here today at this hearing, performed the majority of the procedures under a VA contract with the University of Pennsylvania, where he was on staff. Out of the four suspended brachytherapy programs, we know that Philadelphia was by the far the worst.
So, 79% of OUR Veterans’ received incorrect doses of radiation!
Hon. Harry E. Mitchell goes on to say (emphasis mine):
Though it is commendable that VA’s leadership took swift action once these issues were reported, it is still troubling that it took almost six years for these events to actually be reported. Even more troubling is just last month we were here discussing quality control and lack of proper procedures and oversight of endoscopy procedures being conducted by the VA, yet we are here again, questioning the quality of care our veterans receive.
Mr. Mitchell there is NOTHING honorable about how the VA has handled this situation and 6 years is NOT SWIFT.
Those of you that know me are aware of my deep respect for our Veterans’ so know that I am in no way minimizing this egregious treatment when I say –
This is the treatment we all have to look forward to if Obamacare passes. I wonder how we will feel when it’s our children???