Government Healthcare- Yeah, That’s The Ticket

Hussein wants everybody to get healthcare, and to that end he is willing to tax you to death, no matter how much money you make, in contravention of his promises- but then, who really believes this serial liar ever tells the truth?

All of this trouble for healthcare just like the VA- oh joy! There are some who tout the VA as a much improved healthcare facility, and that the level of care has improved so much that it rivals private care. Oh really?

For patients with prostate cancer, it is a common surgical procedure: a doctor implants dozens of radioactive seeds to attack the disease. But when Dr. Gary D. Kao treated one patient at the veterans’ hospital in Philadelphia, his aim was more than a little off.

Most of the seeds, 40 in all, landed in the patient’s healthy bladder, not the prostate.

It was a serious mistake, and under federal rules, regulators investigated. But Dr. Kao, with their consent, made his mistake all but disappear.

He simply rewrote his surgical plan to match the number of seeds in the prostate, investigators said.

The revision may have made Dr. Kao look better, but it did nothing for the patient, who had to undergo a second implant. It failed, too, resulting in an unintended dose to the rectum. Regulators knew nothing of this second mistake because no one reported it.

This is just one example of a VA mistake, and I am not saying all VA doctors or procedures are so horribly flawed, but there are enough of them to fill a portfolio, even just at this one hospital.

Two years later, in 2005, Dr. Kao rewrote another surgical plan after putting half the seeds in the wrong organ. Once again, regulators did not object.

Had the government responded more aggressively, it might have uncovered a rogue cancer unit at the hospital, one that operated with virtually no outside scrutiny and botched 92 of 116 cancer treatments over a span of more than six years — and then kept quiet about it, according to interviews with investigators, government officials and public records.

The team continued implants for a year even though the equipment that measured whether patients received the proper radiation dose was broken. The radiation safety committee at the Veterans Affairs hospital knew of this problem but took no action, records show.

One has to wonder- the hospital did nothing to correct the damage, nor did they discipline the Doctor- they didn’t even fix the machine that would have regulated the radiation dosage. That’s malpractice on a grand scale, but then they are the government and they are here to help, right?

The 92 implant errors resulted from a systemwide failure in which none of the safeguards that were supposed to protect veterans from poor medical care worked, an examination by The New York Times has found.

Peer review, a staple of every good hospital, in which colleagues examine one another’s work, did not exist in the unit. The V.A.’s radiation safety program; the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which regulates the use of all nuclear materials; and the Joint Commission, a group that accredited the hospital, all failed to intervene; either their inspections had been limited or they had not acted decisively upon finding problems.

Over all, the implant program lacked a “safety culture,” the nuclear commission found. Dr. Kao and other members of his team, the commission said, were not properly supervised or trained in what constitutes a substandard implant and the need to report it. Dr. Kao declined to comment for this article.

Virtually none of the substandard implants in Philadelphia were reported to the nuclear commission, meaning errors went uninvestigated for weeks, months and sometimes years. During that time, many patients did not know that their cancer treatments were flawed.

There should have been a peer review, but this being a government- run facility, the “peer review” was the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

But the chief regulator is the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Serious accidents involving radioactive materials must be reported to that agency, which has the power to investigate and levy fines. Congress receives an annual list of those accidents.

After learning of Dr. Kao’s error, V.A. officials thought that because he had revised his surgical plan while still in the operating room, the mistake did not exist. The nuclear commission agreed, on the ground that doctors needed freedom to revise their surgical plan depending on what they found during surgery.

Yet this case did not involve a new diagnostic interpretation: it was an implant mistake, causing the patient to return for another procedure.

It constantly amazes me when left wing morons claim that government really works well, and that government healthcare will improve our lives. How? By implanting radioactive pellets everywhere but where they might actually do some good? By cutting off the wrong appendage? All of you people who might be concerned about that should know that the government is rarely able to be sued- it likes to wrap itself in the flag of “Immunity” from lawsuits, and I am sure that this would continue to be the case as we go forward.

But I guess that all the C- med students have to practice somewhere, I just think that our service men and women deserve more from our government than that. 

Heck, the rest of us deserve more than this, come to think of it.

Just say no to government healthcare.


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15 Responses to “Government Healthcare- Yeah, That’s The Ticket”

  1. Tamara says:

    Malpractice is not limited to government run medical facilities.

    “A recent study by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences estimated that as many as 98,000 patients may be killed each year in hospitals alone as a result of medical errors.Earlier studies also found that this was a serious national problem.”

    We could throw examples back and forth all day long of people who were mistreated or misdiagnosed in every type of medical facility. Such as the woman who died in a California hospital waiting room last year who was completely ignored. But that doesn’t tell us anything real now does it?

    • Blake says:

      Malpractice is indeed not limited to the VA- there’s incompetence everywhere- but in most hospitals, there is a peer review- here the peer review was the government- and they fell down on the job very badly. This same thing happened to my brother in a different facility, because you do not necessarily get the best doctors at all VAs, or the best care, and government peer review sucks like a wind tunnel in its effectiveness, or rather lack thereof.

  2. Darrel says:

    BLK: “This is just one example of a VA mistake…>>

    Oh my gosh, you found “one example” of a mistake in health service system that serves millions.

    Oh wait, you have another example too, but it’s from the same dishonest doctor!

    BLK: “amazes me when left wing morons claim that government really works well, and that government healthcare will improve our lives.”>>

    Careful. Are you calling Big Dog a moron? He says the government run VA health system is the best:

    “The care is the best in the world, the administrative side and the costs leave little to be desired.” –Bigd

    And it’s truly his specialty. I’ll take his word over yours.


    • Big Dog says:

      Darrel, YOU ARE A LIAR. We were discussing military health care and care of our service members. I said MILITARY HEALTH care, the care the troops are getting in military facilities.

      Don’t mix the words up. You left off the where I asked who had worked in military medicine, not the VA.

      The VA is a different mess all together.

      No government run system is efficient. The military system (NOT THE VA) provides our troops with great care but they do not worry about costs. The VA has way too many political administrators who don’t care about veterans. They do not get rid of substandard doctors because no one wants to work for the VA.

      There are plenty of examples in all kinds of facilities. If this doctor had worked in private industry he would have been fired and sued for malpractice. Tamara, let’s not forget that you have recourse if a doctor messes up in the civilian world. Not in the government world.

      Darrel, get it straight. If you are going to use my words use them correctly and quote me accurately.

      Military medicine is a specialty of mine. VA is a different horse. I have never worked0 for them. I have plenty of colleagues who do.

      • Darrel says:

        Bigd: Darrel, YOU ARE A LIAR.>>

        Absurd. I don’t lie.

        Bigd: We were discussing military health care and care of our service members.>>

        We were discussing the VA. The VA is military health and and provides health services to the military. Both are government run, completely socialized, military, health care.

        Here is your comment in it’s entirety. I encourage you to go to the thread and read the entire context of what we were talking about:

        Big Dog says:
        Monday Jun 15th, 2009 at 23:09
        “How many here have actually worked in military medicine? The care is the best in the world, the administrative side and the costs leave little to be desired. Military medicine is a bit of a specialty of mine.”

        Bigd: I said MILITARY HEALTH care, the care the troops are getting in military facilities.>>

        You didn’t say anything about “military facilities” which are also 100% government run, 100% socialized and, as you say, the “best in the world.”

        Bigd: You left off the where I asked who had worked in military medicine, not the VA.>>

        If you read the context of that thread, we were all talking about the VA, which you never at any time differentiated from “military medicine.” The VA, obviously, provides medicine, to the military.

        BIGD: No government run system is efficient.>>

        All military medicine is by definition “government run” and completely socialized. The VA is very efficient and much more so than private care. If private care was cheaper, the VA would be disbanded immediately and everything turned over to private industry. The costs would probably double, least. This is because private care is inherently inefficient and filled with perverse disincentives driven by greed, as I have shown over and over and over.

        Bigd: VA is a different horse. I have never worked0 for them.>>

        Well then you can be excused for not knowing their recent excellent record. I will provide again the references to scientific research (not anecdotes) that I posted found directly above your comment you think I “lied” about. These show how well government run, socialized, VA (some would say military) medicine is doing:

        “The fact is that the government-run U.S. Veterans healthcare system is now considered signficantly more efficient than private-sector healthcare according to:

        The New England Journal of Medicine (”Effect of the Transformation of the Veterans Affaris Health Care System on the Quality of Care, May 29, 2003)

        The Annals of Internal Medicine (”Diabetes Care Quality in the Veterans Affairs Health Care System and Commercial Managed Care: The TRIAD Study,” August 17, 2004)

        U.S. News & World Report (America’s Best Hospitals, Military Might, July 18 2005);

        the American Journal of Managed Care (”The Veterans Health Administration: Quality, Value, Accountability, and Information as Transforming Strategies for Patient-Centered Care,” 2004,10; part2);

        Washington Monthly (”The Best Care Anywhere,” January/February 2005)

        The Washington Post (”Revamped Veterans Health CAre Now a Model,” August 22, 2005).



  3. Darrel says:

    Tamara, I’ll see your above medical error examples and raise you:

    Healthgrades, an independent health care ratings company, reported nearly double that [98,000] figure. Its examination of 37 million patient records from all 50 states, representing 45% of all US hospital admissions, found 195 000 hospital deaths from preventable medical errors annually between 2000 and 2002,.” LINK

    Oh, and the complaint about lawsuits? There’s two sides to that story:

    “Evidence that medical malpractice in the US greatly exceeds malpractice lawsuits has been available since 1974, when California’s medical and hospital associations sponsored a study intended to buttress their efforts to get lawmakers to pass tort reform. Instead, it found that doctors and hospitals negligently injured 0.8% of hospital patients (Mills DH, editor. Report on the Medical Insurance Feasibility Study. Sacramento: California Medical Association and California Hospital Association; 1977). A later analysis of the data found that, at most, only 1 in 75 of those injured were compensated (Danzon, Patricia A. Medical Malpractice: Theory, evidence and public policy. Cambridge: Harvard University Press; 1985).

    Recent research has confirmed that malpractice is rampant and few medical errors result in legal claims. In 1990, Harvard researchers examined more than 30,000 randomly selected records from New York hospitals. They concluded that 1% of patients were negligently injured, while only 4% of those who were injured, sued (Patients, doctors and lawyers: Medical injury, malpractice litigation, and patient compensation in New York. Cambridge: Harvard University Press; 1990).” –ibid


    • Big Dog says:

      This is from how many years ago?

      Now, how many millions of patients are seen? What is the per capita rate? That would be much more telling than a raw number that means little. How many people per 100k?

      • Darrel says:

        Bigd: “This is from how many years ago?>>

        The years are given.

        Bigd: Now, how many millions of patients are seen?>>

        Not relevant. A random sample of 30,000 is more than enough to provide a scientific analysis.

        Bigd: What is the per capita rate?

        Per capita rate of what specifically? If .8% are injured and “1 in 75 of those injured were compensated.” Then we know only a tiny fraction are receiving monetary recourse.

        It’s a balance. If not enough doctors fear lawsuits, they get away with shoddy work. If too many do, it drives up costs. There are arguments on both sides.

        Bigd: How many people per 100k?>>

        How many people *what* per 100k? Of interest is the “how many people” per people injured not the average of the general population including people that not go to the hospital. This is addressed above.


        • Blake says:

          Darrel- part of the problem is that whether you are a doctor or a lawyer, if you make a c-, you still get a license.
          Add to that that once licensed, many doctors do not continue their education, seeking instead to pay off their costly loans- its a vicious cycle that Nationalized Health care will not help.
          Who will want to be a doctor, if you are paid little, but there is still malpractice abuse rampant. It wouldn’t be worth it.
          It’s the same reason we have hacks for politicians, instead of real people with real world ideas- who but the mediocre will take that job? Certainly not Bill Gates, or Warren Buffet, or Steve Jobs. They have better things to do that require less hassle. Who can blame them?
          This is why we are left with the choice of McCain or Obama- really no choice a reasonable person should have to make. We deserve better.

  4. victoria says:

    My husband and myself took my brother to the VA after he was diagnosed with oral cancer by a local doctor and the VA messed around for 21 days more running more tests and making him drive back and forth (2 hrs) on extreme amounts of pain medication (something that could of killed him and others). We drove him when we could. They could not make up their minds what to do and there were at one time 7 or 8 doctors on the case. Finally they did nothing and just started doing “paliative care” they call it, meaning they are going to do what they can until the patient dies. I asked one of the doctors about the seeds and his answer was they did not do that kind of treatment there. They did one radiation treatment and apparently almost burned a hole in his carotid which was when my brother decided to stop and come home. I myself have experience with military doctors having been the dependant of an active duty military guy. I wouldn’t take my dog there and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Not after a dentist held me down in a chair and pulled two teeth without deadening,(because novacaine doesn’t work on infected tissue),because they didn’t do root canals on dependants only for the active duty personnel. If people want this kind of care they are better off with no care.

    • Big Dog says:

      Having never been a dependent I can’t say. My wife and kids were dependents and they received good care. Both my children were born in Army hospitals.

      As a soldier I have never received bad care. I am sure that there is bad care but the Combat Support Hospital I was in and the Medevac unit I ran gave the best care around.

      • victoria says:

        They had a saying at least around where we were–“If the military would have wanted you to have a wife–they would have issued you one.” And don’t get me wrong–I still love and support our troops and hold no anomosity towards them because they are doing a thankless job and receiving very little credit not to mention very little support or compensation as well from our government but they had to cut costs somewhere I guess. This would have been right during the Carter era.

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