BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE
AMERICANS CAN AND SHOULD HAVE A LIVELY DEBATE ABOUT THE BUDGET AND THE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN.
BUT THAT'S WHERE IT ENDS.
MEANING, NO ONE NEEDS TO HEAR WHAT THE EDITORIAL BOARD OF THE UNITED KINGDOM'S 'INDEPENDENT' NEWSPAPER THINKS. IN FACT, THEY NEED TO BUTT THE HELL OUT.
HAVING CHEERLED THE IRAQ WAR, HAVING IGNORED THE DOWNING STREET MEMOS, YOU'D THINK THE INDEPENDENT WOULD HAVE ENOUGH SENSE TO SHUT THEIR MOUTHS NOW. BUT NOT, THEY DON'T. ATTENTION, BRITISH NEWSPAPERS, NOT EVERYTHING REQUIRES YOUR OPINION.
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Yesterday's "Iraq snapshot"
covered the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health where widows
Heather McDonald and Kimberly Stowe Green explained how the VA's
'treatment' (over medication) killed their husbands Scott McDonald and
Ricky Green. For those who missed it, we'll note some of Heather
Heather McDonald: For 15 years, he served honorably in the
uniform of his country and was proud to serve as a UH-60 Blackhawk
mechanic and Crew Chief for MEDEVAC Unit. Bosnia, Panama, Iraq and
Afghanistan are only a few of the war-torn countries he dedicated his
life to changing. In his career, he experienced heartache, unimaginable
violence, death and the overall devastating effects of war. He saw
many of his fellow soldiers give the ultimate sacrifice -- narrowly
escaping many times himself. He loved his country and what the American
flag stands for. He was a brothers in arms to thousands of fellow
soldiers and a truly remarkable man that never met a stranger. Scott
had larger than life expectations for his children. And because of his
commitment and honor, in January of 2011, we married. On April 30,
2011, Scott's career with the army came full circle and he hung his
uniform up for good. He began seeking the treatment from the VA for back
pain and mental illness. The Chalmers P. Wylie VA Ambulatory Care
Center in Columbus, Ohio immediately started prescribing medications
beginning with ibuprofen, nurofen, meloxicam and graduating to vicodin,
klonopin, celexa, Zoloft, valium and Percocet. This is where the
rollercoaster began. My husband was taking up to 15 pills a day within
the first six months of treatment. Every time Scott came home from an
appointment, he had different medications, different dosages, different
directions on how to take them. And progressively over the course of a
year and a half of starting his treatment, the medications had changed
so many times by adding and changing that Scott became changing. We
researched many of the drugs that he was prescribed online and saw the
dangerous interactions that they cause. Yet my husband was conditioned
to follow orders. And he did so. On September 12th of 2012, Scott
attended another of his scheduled appointments. This was when they
added Percocet. This was a much different medication than he was used
to taking and which they prescribed him not to exceed 3,000 milligrams
of ibu -- acetaminophen, I'm sorry. Again, my husband followed orders.
Approximately zero-one-hundred hours on the 13th of September, I
arrived home from my job. I found Scott disoriented and very
lethargic. I woke him and asked him if he was okay? He told me he was
fine and that he just took what the doctors told him to take. At
approximately zero-seven-thirty, I found my husband cold and
unresponsive. At 35-years-old, this father of two was gone. I ask
myself why everyday. And when I ask the VA why more tests weren't
performed to make sure he was healthy enough, they responded by saying:
"It is not routine to evaluate our soldiers' pain medication
distribution." A simple "I am in pain" constitutes a narcotic and a
"This isn't working" constitutes a change in medication. I was sickened
and disturbed by their response and I decided at that point no one else
should die. I have no doubt that if the proper tests were being
performed on our men and women, I would not be here today -- because my
husband would be. I have no doubt that for thousands of the
soldiers that have fallen after coming home from war would be here
today. [Wiping tears] I'm sorry. As the silent soldiers and spouses of
our military members. we almost expect the possibility that they won't
come home from war. But we cannot accept that they fight there for
their country and after the battle is over they come home and die.
As Ava noted last night in "The VA killed Heather McDonald's husband (Ava),"
the press had a real problem with those women's testimony and rushed to
tie pretty bows around it as if widowhood was a wonderful vista to new
career choices. Today, some of those same outlets (NextGov, for
example) appear to have realized how horrible their reporting was and
gotten a little more honest. Wally covered the second panel in "VA bullied doctors into prescribing narcotics"
-- where two of the three medical witnesses shared that the VA
compelled doctors to over-medicate and that whistle-blowing got you
fired. From yesterday's snapshot:
You can't just dispense pain killers like they're Flintstone chewables
or candy out of Pez dispenser. This attitude was overcome long ago
everywhere except the VA. It's why former First Lady Betty Ford went
public and set up The Betty Ford Center.
When it comes to addiction, there may not be a more vulnerable
population than veterans. The reasons for that are they are taught to
mask the pain while serving and, as both widows pointed out, to follow
orders -- the following of orders often carries over the medical
treatment from the VA. The VA doctors are prescribing like it's 1947
and, as a society, we've never heard of pain killer addiction.
People in pain need help and need treatment. They do not, however, need
to develop an addiction because a bunch of lazy or quack doctors don't
want to do their job.
Under Shinseki, the prescriptions are killing veterans, yes. But also
under Shinseki, the prescriptions are resulting in addictions that will
have be treated years from now.
That's unacceptable -- from a health standpoint and from a taxpayer standpoint.
Shinseki is supposed to be on top of things. He shouldn't need a Congressional hearing to take action.
It was really distressing to hear Josh Green detail his objections to
the pills and how, when he would raise these objections, he would be
prescribed more pills.
Iraq and Afghanistan War veteran Justin Minyard suffered from chronic
back pain (tied to a 72 hour continues shift at the Pentagon, searching
for any survivors after the Pentagon was hit on 9-11). The existing
back pain was amplified by his later service in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The treatment? Pills, pills and more pills. That's all the VA offered
him. He explained, "My life revolved around when is my next pill, when
is my next dosage increase and when can I get my next refill? At my
worst point I was taking enough pills daily to treat four terminally ill
Repeating, this isn't just medical malpractice with effects people see
and feel now, this is medical malpractice that is turning veterans into
addicts. That is unacceptable. Civilian doctors prescribing in this
manner risk loss of license and criminal charges but the VA just looks
the other way. The VA motto appears to be: "Addiction gets you out the
A number of e-mails asked about the over-prescribing and insisted this would trigger state investigations. No.
This was addressed in the hearing by Dr. Pamela Gray. In the civilian
world, to practice medicine in Rhode Island, you need to be state
licensed in Rhode Island. In the VA world? If you are licensed in any
state, the VA circumvents the rules and allows you to practice in any
state. So you're licensed in Georgia, hired by the VA and assigned to
Oregon, you don't have to get licensed in Oregon and the state board has
no say over your actions.
One of the easiest ways to improve and ensure functional treatment at
the VA would be to require the doctors to meet the same conditions and
guidelines required of civilian doctors. Eric Shinseki could issue an
order to make that happen. Or Congress could pass a law. But something
needs to happen.
Kat's "The fake apology from Dr. Jesse"
covered the third panel, the VA's Dr. Robert Jesse. No, his apology
did not seem for real. It was further cheapened by his defensive nature
and obvious inability to take accountability on behalf of the VA.
This week, community evening bloggers had a theme post. In 2009, at Third, we named Bette Davis "The Best Actress of the 20th Century" and this week's theme was favorite Bette Davis film. These were the posts and picks: Ann's "Old Acquaintance," Betty's
"Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?," Trina's
"The Letter," Rebecca's
"beyond the forest," Ruth's
"Dark Victory," Kat's
"All About Eve," Marcia's
"Dead Ringer," Elaine's
"Now, Voyager," Mike's "The Little Foxes" and Isaiah's "Working It For BP (Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte)."
RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"UNHCHR condemns executions in Iraq"
"International Day of the Girl Child"
"Black Eyed Peas in the Kitchen"
"What is the White woman fascination with Kristof?"
"Andrew Levine and other harmful things"
"scandal (what happened to huck - and jake)"
"Mia Farrow's brother is a child molester"
"Racist puritan Nicholas Kristof praised by Ms. magazine"
"Revolution tanks (andwhy)"
"Star Trek: The Search for Kirk's Daddy Issues"
"They finally found Gloria Steinem's successor!"
"Look how they cover"
"THIS JUST IN! SOME CAME WHORING!"