Overheard on CNN.com: Are VA hospitals a disgrace?
A report claims nearly two-thirds of 67 rape allegations were not reported to the VA Inspector General's Office, as required by regulations.
June 8th, 2011
07:34 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Are VA hospitals a disgrace?

Comment of the day:

"My daughter was just asking me if volunteering at the VA to satisfy her community service requirement for high school would be a good idea. I think not."–stevebonpch

Audit: Sexual assault incidents within VA system underreported

Of the nearly 300 sexual assaults within the Veteran's Affairs system that were reported to VA police from January 2007 through July 2010, many weren't properly reported to VA leadership officials and the VA Inspector General's Office, according to an investigation by the Government Accountability Office.

wimsy quoted Veteran's Affairs press secretary Josh Taylor: "'We take all allegations seriously and investigate them thoroughly.' Obviously not."

But lordbyron85 said, "Well, not to discredit every report, but any facility that treats people with mental issues is going to have people saying crazy things."

This story gave some CNN.com readers fodder for the private vs. public health care debate. msterling94 said, "Eliminate VA hospitals and clinics and issue qualified veterans insurance cards to use at any hospital of their choice. VA hospitals are a disgrace and show why a government-run health program will not work. They exist is for politicians to 'bring home the bacon' to their individual districts."

But others said they had experienced the same level of care in both types of facilities. jimraytn said, "I spent the first 27 years of my life under military medicine and the last five under VAHS. There is no difference between any form of GI health-care system and any other private hospital I have ever had the misfortune to utilize. I've had 30-45 day waits to see specialists in the civilian world, also, which is particularly disconcerting when you have kidney stones."

Some veterans said the quality of care was inconsistent throughout the system, while others spoke up to commend the hospitals they attend. josmith0110 said, "As a disabled vet, I have received care from many VA hospitals, and the quality of service is all over the place. For those who are making this a political issue, save your breath. This problem has spanned 40+ years. Polarizing the issue won't help."

USNNole said, "I have been using the VA clinic in Daytona Beach for over a year, since we dropped our ever-more expensive health insurance with the magical climbing deductible and co-pay. I have been seen about every 4 months and paid about $70 out of pocket. No one has tried to sexually assault me or my wife. (We are both Navy Vets from Operations Desert Shield/Storm). Don't over generalize. The Daytona Beach staff is polite and professional."

Dutch to ban foreigners from pot shops

Pretty soon, if you're not a Dutch citizen, you will not be allowed into Dutch coffee shops, best known for legally selling pot. "The Cabinet expects that closure of coffee shops to foreign drugs tourists will ensure that they no longer travel to the Netherlands to purchase and consume cannabis," the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice said in a recent statement.

justincase04 said, "I agree with the Dutch government. In fact, I'm pushing for the British government to deny ale in pubs to anyone not British." Clafong said, "Now this sounds like a good reason to send in the troops. Better use of our 2-billion dollars per week than Afghanistan."

raffreid asked, "Do people go to the Netherlands for anything else?" LL11 replied, "Beauty, history, architecture, good beer, seafood, tulips, yeah."

lordbyron85 said, " I figured it was only a matter of time before Americans helped ruin this. Ha." nietvoeren replied, "Nah, it's not the Americans. Most American tourists are nice. Never had any problems with any of them. But the so-called 'drugs-tourists' coming from France, Belgium and Germany are the problem. They only go to the Netherlands to buy weed. Drive way too fast, parking their cars illegally, cause a lot of trouble in peaceful Dutch neighborhoods. But I don't think this law will pass."

WarriorsMark said, "Where will my College Class of 1968 have our reunions now? Guess we will have to have it in California. Lord knows with all our aches and pains we should qualify medically."

Scientists warn of chemical-autism link

The soup of chemicals found in our environment, along with genetic predisposition, could be causing a higher incidence of autism, experts said in a conference call recently. Some components cited were chemicals found in plastic food packaging and water bottles and antimicrobials added to soaps, toothpaste and other products.

CNN.com readers agreed that autism was on the rise and offered their own ideas about the reasons. Elinor Kriegsmann said, "As a clinical instructor in speech pathology at the University of Washington in the 70's and early 80's, we rarely saw children with autistic features. This changed in the mid-80's with a major spike in the 90's to the present. The main difference in the past 35 years has also been the spike in environmental and food-related toxins."

deuce said, "It's funny how, before the prevalence of antibacterial everything and Clorox and other disinfectants around their house, there were far fewer incidents of autism, food allergies, and a host of other modern ills. Third World countries don't have these problems like we do. Why is that?"

Romey said, "We're going to find out that it's sunscreen that causes autism. I can just see it coming." May asked, "Could it be the ultra sound?"

Rocksor said, "South Korea has a higher autism rate than the United States. Their vaccine schedule is not as rigorous as our own. So what's the cause? Something in the environment affecting fetal development." mm replied, "Chinese-made goods and food."

Dr Neutrino said, "The cause of autism and other neurological disorders will be found to be demylination. Various chemicals in insecticides and herbicides are known to cause demylination. Next time you meet someone with MS, ask them if they ever spent any time near a golf course during puberty."

But Poppy disagreed, saying, "Did you grow up on a farm? I don't know any farm kids that have autism and we were almost bathing in herbicides and pesticides daily."

And some identifying themselves as scientists commented that the correlation was still a hypothesis, and perhaps false at that. EB said, "As a father of a 10-year old autistic boy and a career research scientist, this kind of reporting seriously annoys me. In the article Dr. Irva Hertz-Piccotto is quoted as saying that these chemicals 'could potentially play a role'. The key word is 'potentially.' "

David, a geneticist, said, "These results are based on correlations found in data, nothing more. Do you know there is a perfect correlation between the number of clergy in a community and the amount of crime? Do we see increased crime because of an increased number of clergy? No."

And Will said, "Numerous studies have shown that autism is almost certainly genetic and less tied to the environment than to the mother's age. With more people postponing having children, autism is highly likely to increase, and that's exactly what has happened, according to one UC at Davis study. Another showed the highest demographic concentration of autism in white, wealthy families - precisely those that postpone their fertility. While I am all for cleaning out the environment of those chemicals, we have to realize that our choices can effect our children, too. "

soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. albruno

    The poor vets are over-drugged.. to the point of being slovenly at time - i have seen it often.
    Abuse from lawyers, guardians is horrible.. it is all about control of the vets money - which means you must control them in every aspect.
    This is not to say that some vets do not need real help - but many vets are trapped and cannot get out - scary

    June 9, 2011 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  2. littleriverbaker2

    For an eye-opener, check out the facility in Murfreesboro, TN. A true disgrace when our brother in law was there in the 90's. We were begged not to report threats by nurses because their treatment would just be more cruel. Threats of isolation and refusal to change roommates linens and clothing in which he had on his body 3 days, feces filled because he cried. They gave the best of their lives for us, and we give them bed sores in return. Disgrace.

    June 9, 2011 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  3. Albert Lavigne

    I use the Orlando VA for my medical, and it's a disgrace to try and get to see a doctor for anything. I had a serious injury last september, when I called the VA for an appointment I was told the earliest I could bee seen was late December. Our vets deserve better.

    June 10, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ale

    I'm not surprise at all, I came back from Afghanistan, about 3 months now and got test positive for TB....i was in process to get out by chapter while in afghanistan,never got the treatment because they dont care,im out now but scare to go the va hospital after reading all this....

    June 11, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dennis Finbraaten

    Yea right, who do you report it too, the VA? They cover each others behind. Nothing will be done unless you clean house which that won't happen. I been been complaining for years about the care the Vets get though the VA. They don't care about the health of the Vets, the only things they care for is there pay checks, vacation time and retirement.. So who do you report too? Nobody

    June 13, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • richard carpenter

      Dennis you are so right about the VA and the way they cover for each other, I reported the VA to doc Hastings several times as he is supposed to be for vets and all they did every time was to turn it over to the VA to handle it , ha what a joke , ounce again right on Dennis.

      January 14, 2014 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. D-DayDaughter

    My 86 year old father is a WWII Vet (D-Day, Battle of the Bulge, French Legion of Honor Medal recipient) and has had nothing but the BEST care at the Boston area VA facilities in West Roxbury and Jamaica Plain. Everyone we have been in contact with is pleasant, helpful and accommodating despite the fact that their case loads are out of control. The ONE social worker in W. Roxbury has over 3000 clients yet she always follows up to make sure his needs were met. Maybe we should funnel some of the money in the war chest to the VA to hire additonal staff.

    June 13, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. richard carpenter

    I am a Viet Nam vet ,I ran over a 50# mine Feb. 9th 1968 , for 40 years I tried to prove it , since no records were kept,.I am now paralyzed in my left leg because I trusted the VA in spoken Washington to help me and they left me lay in a bed at home for over 13 mouths with no help other then pain pills. I am now paying a large portion of my income for medical care ,I don't or will I ever trust the VA with my life again ,it isn't that they could not help me , its because they refused to help me. I tried every thing to get help , so it boils down to the VA in spoken Washington did to me what the Viet Cong could not. this sounds bad and it is , so think it over before you go to the VA for help ,

    January 14, 2014 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
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