My brother, a Vietnam veteran, died at the VA hospital here in St. Louis. He had developed a bleeding ulcer years after getting out of the service. He had been wounded over there a couple of times and then re-enlisted and served his country a second tour of duty. He developed a drinking and drug problem, hence the bleeding ulcer.
They put him in the VA hospital up on north Grand Avenue. After a grueling 12-hour operation they were finally able to stop the bleeding. But the Army surgeon did it all wrong. Another Army surgeon had to go in and correct the work of the first one. He told me that all of the intestines were in the wrong place. After that second operation, my brother got weaker and weaker and finally died from pneumonia.
The conditions at the VA hospital when I went to visit my brother there were horrible. Every other room had a warning sign that the patient had some kind of hospital squired infection. The place stank of urine and feces. One time my brother got so weak that they were going to put a feeding tube in him. I implored him to eat. He motioned towards the untouched plate of spaghetti and meatballs near his bed. “Would you eat that?” He said.
I smelled it and it almost made me gag. It was spoiled. It was shocking that our wounded and sick troops have to exposed to this kind of environment when they get home. And I understand that it hasn’t gotten much better recently. My doctor recently quit her very lucrative practice to go and work for the VA. I hope she can make a difference.
According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch: “The John A. Cochran Medical Center (on Grand where my brother was) in St. Louis has successfully handled this summer’s dental equipment sterilization crisis, but it isn’t serving veterans quickly or politely, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill said Thursday.”
Senator McCaskill goes on to talk about her meeting with officials from the VA. The VA hospital in St. Louis has the lowest percentage of satisfied patients of any VA hospital in the United States.
An inspection in March had shown that the hospital had failed to follow the required sterilization procedures for its dental equipment, putting the patients at risk for getting hepatitis and HIV infection.
Her investigation has since shown that they have taken care of the sterilization problem with their dental equipment, but it also revealed the problem with the vet’s dissatisfaction with the hospital.