Thursday, February 23, 2017

12 Million Veterans Diagnosis Mistakes A Year?

Diagnosis mistakes for veterans: 12 million happen a year
WLOS News
by Jennifer Emert
Wednesday, February 22nd 2017

A study by VA Dr. Hardeep Singh shows more than 12 million VA and private patients are misdiagnosed a year. Singh's research blames it on doctors not getting enough time to be face to face with their patients or their medical records. The average exam time has gone from 40 minutes to 20 minutes.
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) — Making up for past mistakes has been a focus of the Veterans Health Administration.

Overall, there's been an improvement. But, from the front lines, from several veterans' perspectives, sometimes it is a battle to get the right diagnosis.

The Charles George VA Medical Center's rating is great, recently receiving five stars. But that’s based on the VA's data on inpatient treatment.

One mountain veteran is telling a different story, a story that lasted a year and ended up with him leaving the system.

“I feel like I'm fighting more of a battle back here than I have over there,” Chad Thomas said.

At 26, Thomas fought on Iraq's front lines. He was deployed to Iraq in 2004-05 as an airborne infantryman, assigned to the 525th Military Intelligence Brigade.

“Anytime there was a convoy, that was my job,” Thomas said.

From his Humvee gunner's post, he protected soldiers in and out of Bagdad's airport. Twelve years later, Thomas' battle has gone from the war room to an exam room.

“That's usually what I see happening, when there's an infection, I usually have all this other stuff,” Thomas said.

He's waging war on an infection that six months ago was much larger, blackening the skin.
read more here

Army Reserve Medic Missing in Japan

Colorado man missing in Japan
NBC 9 News Colorado
February 22, 2017

KUSA - Rescuers and volunteers are searching for a Colorado man who disappeared while skiing Happo-one in Nagano, Japan.
Cpt. Mathew Healy, Army Reserves, is an OEF Veteran with combat medic experience according to family members. He along with his wife and 2 children have been living in Japan for 2 years as a part of his wife’s Air Force assignment in Okinawa.
read more here

Missing Veteran Found by Coast Guard

Missing Army veteran found safe in hospital after two-day search
FOX 5 News
BY CHRISTY SIMERAL AND SHARON CHEN
February 22, 2017

SAN DIEGO -- After a two-day search for a missing boater thought to be lost at sea, a U.S. Coast Guard official ended its search Wednesday night after the decorated Army veteran from Orange County was found safe.
Garrett Ferguson
A nurse at Scripps Mercy Hospital in Hillcrest saw a FOX 5 News report on the search for 36-year-old Garrett Ferguson of Huntington Beach and called police to say he was at the hospital.

Lifeguards and Coast Guard personnel scanned the ocean and shorelines around Mission Bay for a second day Wednesday in search of the Huntington Beach man, who was believed to have gone missing during a sea outing on a small motorboat.
read more here

Lawsuit: Fort Hood Multiple Murder-Suicide Could Have Been Prevented

Lawsuit claims soldier’s gun access led to murder-suicide in Killeen
KXAN News
By Claire Ricke
Published: February 22, 2017

KILLEEN, Texas (KXAN) — One day away from the two year anniversary of a Killeen murder-suicide, a family is suing the U.S. government for failing to report a Fort Hood soldier’s restraining order violations, which allowed him to purchase a gun.

In the lawsuit filed at an Austin federal court, the family claims weapon access led to the murder of three people and suicide of the soldier. In February 2015, police say, Atase Giffa shot and killed his wife and two neighbors before killing himself.

According to the lawsuit, days before the murders Giffa and his wife were arguing, which escalated when he grabbed and threw her. Giffa’s wife Dawn was told by Killeen police to notify her husband’s commander about the incident. While she called the commander, Dawn and her son went to a neighboring home to find safety.

The commander told Dawn that Giffa would be on a 48-hour watch and constrained to the barracks for seven days as well as having a restraining order filed against him, states the lawsuit. Fort Hood is accused by the lawsuit of not recording Giffa’s restraining order violations in the crime datebase that would have made it harder for him to buy a gun. The lawsuit does not state where Giffa bought the gun.
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POTUS Not Meeting With Veterans Groups?

American Legion defends VA health care, still trying to meet with Trump
Stars and Stripes
Nikki Wentling
February 22, 2017

WASHINGTON — The American Legion is trying to arrange a meeting with President Donald Trump to discuss the importance of veterans service organizations, the group’s executive director said Wednesday.
American Legion officials stand to be recognized during Secretary of Veterans Affairs nominee Dr. David Shulkin's Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill, Feb. 1, 2017.
JOE GROMELSKI/STARS AND STRIPES
“It’s important that the president meets with us, and we’re working right now to set up a meeting,” American Legion Director Verna Jones said during an event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. “We want to… make sure that he understands the value of [veterans service organizations], what we bring to this veteran space and what veterans need.”

Jones said she wants five other veterans organizations included in the meeting with Trump. Veterans of Foreign Wars, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Vietnam Veterans of America, American Veterans and Disabled American Veterans, along with the American Legion, are informally known in Washington as the “Big Six” and collectively represent approximately 5.6 million veterans.

The six groups attempted to obtain an in-person discussion with Trump in December before he selected a new Department of Veterans Affairs secretary, but they never had a meeting. Leaders of major veterans groups were not present when Trump held a listening session about the VA earlier this month with health care executives.
read more here

Air Force One Savings Questioned by the Air Force?

Air Force Stumped by Trump's Claim of $1 Billion Savings on Jet
Bloomberg
by Anthony Capaccio
February 22, 2017
Cost estimates for a new Air Force One still being refined
Service awards next contracts for design, aircraft by June 30
The Air Force can’t account for $1 billion in savings that President Donald Trump said he’s negotiated for the program to develop, purchase and operate two new Boeing Co. jets to serve as Air Force One.

“To my knowledge I have not been told that we have that information,” Colonel Pat Ryder, an Air Force spokesman, told reporters Wednesday when asked how Trump had managed to reduce the price for the new presidential plane. “I refer you to the White House,” Ryder said. A White House spokesman didn’t respond to repeated inquiries about Trump’s comments.

Trump has boasted that he’s personally intervened to cut costs of two military aircraft -- the F-35, the fighter jet built by Lockheed Martin Corp., and Boeing’s Air Force One.

“They were close to signing a $4.2 billion deal to have a new Air Force One,” Trump said at a rally on Saturday in Florida. “Can you believe this? I said, ‘No way.’ I said, ‘I refuse to fly in a $4.2 billion airplane. I refuse.’”

Instead, Trump said, “we got that price down by over $1 billion, and I probably haven’t spoken, to be honest with you, for more than an hour on the project. I got the generals in, who are fantastic. I got Boeing in. But I told Boeing it’s not good enough. We’re not going to do it. The price is still too high.”
read more here

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Fire within led firefighter to take his own life

Fire within led firefighter to take his own life
KSDK News
Jacob Long
February 22, 2017
On Saturday, September 24, 2016, McMullin was on duty for West County EMS and Fire’s station house #2 in Ballwin when he took his own life.
The family of Sean McMullin mourning his death. On Saturday, September 24, 2016, McMullin was on duty for West County EMS and Fire’s station house no. 2 in Ballwin when he took his own life. He was 46.
(Photo: KSDK, KSDK)
ST. LOUIS - Beth McMullin never imagined that someday, she would be married to a firefighter.

“No, I never pictured it. I always pictured a suit and a briefcase. The typical 9 to 5 job,” she said.

Even when she met her husband on a blind date more than 15 years ago, the reality of becoming a first responder’s wife never really dawned on her.

“I was 20 years old when I met him. I married him when I was 21. I guess I didn’t really know what I was getting into,” she said.

But love clearly had other plans.

“It felt comfortable. It felt right. It was just great,” she McMullin said.

And now, the St. Charles County woman is learning all about the unexpected heartbreak that can come with that role.

“We keep going because we have to. I just try to be there for my boys and get them through the day,” she said, wiping tears away from her eyes.

McMullin is a mother of four and the widow of Sean McMullin, 46, a veteran firefighter and paramedic.

He spent more than 20 years protecting local communities like Webster Groves, Berkeley and West County.
read more here

Homeless Air Force veteran, Casey Kathleen Finnegan to be buried with honor

First Female Veteran Honored in Portland through the Dignity Memorial® Homeless Veteran Burial Program 
Salem-News.com 
February 21, 2017
This service will be unique with all lady veteran pallbearers at the conclusion of the graveside. Also, theater students from Clackamas High School, who are preparing to release a rendition of “A Piece of My Heart,” a true story of women who served in Vietnam, will be in attendance to pay tribute.
The public is invited, and encouraged, to attend. A reception will follow. (PORTLAND, Ore.) - A graveside service will be held at 1 p.m., Monday, Feb. 27, 2017 in Willamette National Cemetery to honor the life of Air Force veteran, Casey Kathleen Finnegan, a.k.a. Anne Kathleen Finnegan. 

Ms. Finnegan passed away Jan. 26, 2017 in Portland, Ore. with no family to claim her. The Multnomah County Medical Examiner’s office, Portland Veterans Administration and the State of Oregon Department of State Lands performed background checks to locate next of kin. 

The searches yielded no results. The medical examiner contacted Lincoln Memorial Park and Funeral Home, which they knew to be a Dignity Memorial® Provider and provider of funeral services through the Dignity Memorial® Homeless Veteran Burial Program. read more here

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Soldiers Death in Iraq Under Investigation

Death of Mass. soldier in Iraq under investigation 
WCVB 5 News Boston 
Feb 21, 2017
Brian Patrick Odiorne
WARE, Mass. — A soldier from Massachusetts died Monday in a non-combat related incident in Iraq, according to the Department of Defense. 

Pfc. Brian P. Odiorne, 21, of Ware, was part of Operation Inherent Resolve in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. 

The fatal incident is under investigation by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, the DOD said. read more here

When Veterans Are In Crisis, Fight for Their Lives!

We need to stop taking "no" for an answer, especially when we're asking for help to save someone's life. When a veteran reaches the point where they are in crisis and ask for help, do not walk away from the VA! Tell them to either find a bed there or send you some place else.

I actually heard someone say that veterans do not call 911 or show up at an emergency room for civilian care because they do not want to get stuck with the bill. DEAL WITH IT! 

We did! In the 90's they didn't have a bed for my husband but I told them we were not leaving until they found a place for him. They saved his life and we got stuck with the bill because our private insurance wouldn't pay for something the VA doctor said was tied to Vietnam. When we couldn't afford to pay, they took our tax refund for years. Six years later, when his claim was finally approved, we got most of the money back.

It wasn't fair. It wasn't easy. But giving up on him getting the help he needed was not an option. Why it is still happening is beyond excuses from Congress but it is what it is for now until they are forced to fix the problems with the VA. Still don't blame the VA for everything because when you'll deal with the same thing in civilian hospitals. You just have better chances with them since there are a lot more beds in their hospitals.

Wife of veteran says Topeka VA didn’t do enough to help suicidal husband

Travis Patterson died on Jan. 27 at age 26
On Jan. 25, Travis tried to kill himself. The couple went to the Topeka VA’s mental health building. Staff said it was closed and to go the VA emergency room. Rachel said the emergency room doctor took Travis’ vital signs and told them there wasn’t much they could do that night. They were given the option to be admitted and seen in the morning or to go home and come back the next day. They opted to go home.

When Travis Patterson sought care at the Topeka VA after attempting suicide, his wife, Rachel Patterson, said they were told no one could provide immediate help. Two days later, Travis Patterson killed himself at the age of 26.
“He was driven to this because he didn’t get the help he should’ve gotten,” Rachel Patterson said.
Travis Patterson, also known as “Patt,” had been in intense pain since December, his wife said. Much of his physical pain stemmed from his time in the service. Travis was deployed three times — to Iraq, Afghanistan and Nigeria. In Afghanistan, his truck was blown up. In June 2016, he was discharged from the military.
He suffered from bulging disks, nerve pain and migraines, Rachel said. The pain, at times, prevented him from going to work or school, and he walked with a cane. In December, it worsened. Rachel said doctors wouldn’t prescribe a different medication.
“As a veteran, being treated like that, basically treated like you’re a criminal, it hurts your pride. It doesn’t make you feel like you’re a person and that definitely contributed,” Rachel said.

Remains of Combat Medic Will Naugle Found by Hikers

Family: Body of missing U.S. Army reservist found
KOIN 6 News Staff
Published: February 20, 2017
Will Naugle was last seen on January 26
PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The body of a missing U.S. Army reservist has been found, according to family members.

Will Naugle was last seen on January 26. He was scheduled to report for annual training and vanished.

Naugle was a combat medic and connected to the U.S. Army Reserves at Camp Whithycombe in Clackamas.

The reservist’s family said he was found dead at Powell Butte in Crook County. The family also said they believe Naugle committed suicide.

Naugle’s body was found by hikers, and it is being turned over to a funeral home.
read more here