According to an inspector general report, dozens of veterans were given inadequate care by a Department of Veterans Affairs (HA) hospital which resulted in death.
In New Mexico, veterans who were diagnosed with colorectal cancer were not notified that they had cancer within an acceptable time period — risking the health of all veterans diagnosed.
Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Proper screening and early warnings are the best way to beat the cancer, but the VA didn’t give veterans the ability to begin treating their cancer when it mattered most.
The Free Beacon reports:
Nine veterans who sought care at the New Mexico VA hospital in fiscal years 2013 and 2014 and who were eventually diagnosed with colorectal cancer “experienced delays and, in some instances, significant delays that may have affected the patients’ clinical outcomes,” investigators found.
For three of the veterans, mismanagement at the hospital resulted in them waiting three, eight, and nine months respectively before being notified of their positive colorectal screening; another veteran was never notified, only to be diagnosed with cancer after approaching his doctor with pain nine months later.
VA policy dictates hospital staffers notify patients of results within 14 days, but the delays at the VA were as long as 20 times the wait period. Because of these delays, two veterans died after undergoing chemotherapy and other procedures.
“Delays in cancer screenings have been a problem at VA for years, and this report is proof the department still has a long way to go in order to solve this problem,” said Rep. Jeff Miller (R., Fla.), chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs.
“Right now, it’s incumbent upon New Mexico VA Health Care System leaders to outline who will be held accountable for these mistakes as well as the steps they are taking to fix them.” added Rep. Miller.
Learn more about the inspector general’s report here.
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(H/T: Free Beacon)