Veterans Administration Hospital Scandal A National Disgrace - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

From Anchor Tony McEwing

Veterans Administration Hospital Scandal A National Disgrace

Posted: Updated:
. - Unfortunately, the Veterans Administration scandal seems to be worsening. What at first looked like an incomprehensible combination of negligence and incompetence is beginning to look like something much more sinister and systemic. Now comes word that the VA settled 167 cases possibly involving delayed care for veterans for a whopping $36.4 million since 2001, either voluntarily or by court action.  And that more than 100 veterans may have died while waiting for treatment. If true, those numbers are not only staggering and tragic but shameful and perhaps even criminal.

There are allegations that veterans served specifically by the VA hospital in Phoenix and possibly facilities in other states were denied timely appointments that might have resulted the loss of dozens of lives.  Worse yet, officials at the hospitals are said to have known what was happening and intentionally covered it up.  I can’t think of anyone who deserves this kind of treatment, but especially not the men and women of the military who have sacrificed so much for our nation, protecting freedoms that sadly, too many of us take for granted. 

President Obama is said to be “madder than hell” about it all. Other lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle have also expressed outrage. With all due respect, being upset, while understandable, is not nearly enough. If the allegations prove to be true, a grave disservice has been perpetrated on our veterans, who, as far as I’m concerned, are national treasures who rarely get back from “a grateful nation” nearly as much as they’ve given.

One top level VA official has already resigned over the revelations and there may be more to come. So far, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki has refused to step down, insisting he will get to the bottom of the whole mess. However, if the scandal continues to grow at its current pace, he may not get the chance. He too may find himself out of a job.  But even that would not be enough. And now there is a bill working its way through Congress that would make it easier to fire unqualified or unscrupulous workers at VA hospitals. Great, but still not good enough. If in fact veterans were denied timely care and dozens died as a result and officials purposely hid what was going on, to use Senator John McCain’s words, “people should be going to jail.” We shall see.
Tony McEwing co-anchors FOX 11 Morning News at 4:30 am and provides news updates for the Emmy award winning Good Day LA, broadcast weekdays from 7:00 - 10:00 am. He also co-anchors the FOX 11 10 am News and the FOX 11 News at Noon.
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