Veterans describe bad treatment at Shreveport's VA medical cente - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Veterans describe bad treatment at Shreveport's VA medical center

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As the Veterans Affairs healthcare crisis spreads to more states, local veterans aren't holding back with complaints about poor care they say they've received at Overton Brooks VA Medical Center.  They include one man who fears retribution.  So we're protecting his identity.

"They'll laugh at you. They'll sneer at you. They'll treat you like crap," he says, explaining that employees at Overton Brooks treated him with disdain when he lay in pain from a work accident.

"Telling me to get up and act like a man," he says one worker told him.   

When they decided on surgery, he says they botched the anesthesia and almost killed him.

"Next thing I know I wake up. I'm in intensive care with a nurse on top of me beating the heck out of me telling me to 'Breathe! Breathe!' And I couldn't breathe. My lungs were collapsed," he says.

Former Marine Marcel Edwards of Minden is hot about a disability claim for post traumatic stress that the VA won't approve because they say they can't find his medical records.

"I know they exist. I had to sign them," Edwards says, who served in the early 1980s. 

The V1980'spital will not comment on individual cases. But their spokeswoman, Snady Franks, Sandyay that the VA does not have access to military health records. She says veterans need to have their own records when they leave the service, or request them.

However the wording on Edwards' letter from the VA is worded a bit differently. 

"Can not be located and therefore are unavailable for review," Edwards read from the letter.

Edwards says he suffers from nightmares, paranoia and anger issues after he was beaten by fellow Marines while serving in The Philippines.  He thinks that's why his records haven't been found.

"I believe they actually have either hid them or disregarded the fact that they're there so that they don't want to have no admission of guilty toward it," Edwards says.
John Born of Hosston says he's frustrated with long waits to see a doctor after long waits to get appointments. He says it once took three hours to see the doctor for his apontment.

"I was back thappointmente nurse's station raising hell!" Born says. 

Born has a list of complaints seemingly as long as the number of prescriptions he takes.  He showed us a tote bag full of pill bottles.  Born says his problems are made worse because the VA gives him different doctors who sometimes prescribe meds that are incompatible and have made him sick.

"You see a different doctor every time, they don't know your history," Born says. 

All three veterans say they've complained to the hospital.  But they've not seen their care improve.

Franks gave this statement on behalf of the hospital:  "It's our mission to take care of veterans.  If someone is having problems then we need to talk with them."

The patient advocate phone number for Overton Brooks is (318) 221-8411.  

Every VA medical center in the country is now being audited as a result of this scandal.  That's 151 hospitals and 820 outpatient clinics with more than 18-thousand doctors.  The strained system treats 6.5 million veterans.

The scandal really took off in April when CNN reported that 40 patients died while waiting for care in Phoenix, Arizona, where 1,700 sick veterans were put on secret waiting lists off the official booking system.  That was reportedly done in order to give the appearance that wait times were improving.

The scandal has spread with 26 VA hospitals across the country under federal investigation at last report.

KTBS has teamed up with the Shreveport Times to bring you continuing coverage.  
This Sunday's edition of the Times will focus on wait times at the VA. And Sunday night, Elsa Gillis will bring you the latest on KTBS 3 News at 10.  
Elsa previously reported this.

KTBS also reported complaints from another veteran at this NAACP news conference on Wednesday. 
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