Have a Story to Tell? Had a medical error?

This blog is about patient safety, medical malpractice, staying healthy, and preventing future errors. Help & empower someone else, Teach a lesson, Bear witness, Build our community - Email us or call 781-444-5525.

Frustrated with a health problem?

Need an ally in your health crisis? Call 781-444-5525, or learn more.

Monday, November 12, 2007

They plan to address the problem with a new staff position: Access to care by a wounded Iraq veteran

Captain Brendan Fogerty, 32, of North Kingston, Rhode Island, has been the commanding officer of Weapons Company, a Marine reserve unit of New England's Own battalion. He is slow to anger, but now he is irate.

He had been visiting Marines from his company who suffered wounds. A particular concern was the treatment of Corporal Cody Hill, who suffered burns over 60% of his body as the sole survivor of a blast from an improvised explosive device (IED) that destroyed his Humvee on September 4 in Fallujah.

Cody was sent to the Broke Army Medical Center in Texas, one of the best in the armed forces. Though he saw a burn surgeon on October 5, 2006, no one had prescribed a long-term rehabilitation plan for him until May 4, a delay that jeopardized his recovery.

His father quit his job on an Oklahoma ranch to help his son heal. He dressed his son's burns and slept by his bedside. The family was struggling financially, but no one showed them that they were entitled to benefits - $29,000 in compensation and $100,000 in insurance. Paperwork went missing, and the claim was delayed for months.

A nurse on the East Burn Ward told Capt. Fogerty and Cody's family that Cody had slipped through the cracks.

Infuriated, Capt. Fogerty investigated, and then wrote a memo, addressing it up the chain of command, ultimately to a congressional committee. The memo described the lost paperwork, the failure to inform the military family what benefits they were entitled to, and the inability of the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs Administration to work together.

A spokesman for Brooke Army Medical Center concedes failures to coordinate care, and said the center plans to address the problem with a new staff position.

Hello? They plan to? When? With one staff position, they'll solve these widespread problems? Is anyone in charge? No? Whose responsibility is that?

Advice: Ask the next veteran you see if he's getting all the medical care and support he needs. And get them a patient advocate like Capt. Fogerty.

Read another Iraq veteran story, or read Charles Sennott’s source story in yesterday's Boston Globe.

No comments: