EXCLUSIVE: Bronze Star Vet Survived Vietnam But the St. Louis VA Nearly Killed Him
Public outrage over revelations of abuse and neglect within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs continues to produce first-hand accounts of the deplorable conditions and indifferent service many of our nation’s heroes are forced to endure.
St. Louis area resident Stephen Medford – whose father nearly died from infected bedsores at the Jefferson Barracks VA facility – said he contacted Progressives Today to substantiate earlier reports of patient neglect and to warn others about what healthcare could soon look like under Obamacare.
Medford said his father, Allen Medford, an Air Force veteran who earned a bronze star for his bravery in Viet Nam, was taken to Jefferson Barracks in May 2009 for a minor cut on his foot. The routine trip, however, devolved into a four-month, life-threatening ordeal because the facility’s detached staff neglected their basic duties.
“He was admitted with a small wound on his foot due to being constrained to a wheel chair,” Medford said. “It should have been minor, and we should have been in and out.”
“The wound got progressively better because of … IVs and antibiotics they were giving him,” Medford said, but nurses at the hospital did not move his father as required to prevent bed sores, and several soon developed.
“The nurses and doctors sort of shluffed it off and didn’t do much about it. The bedsores became infected, his blood pressure spiked and he went into shock,” Medford said.
“I thought he was going to die. He couldn’t speak. It was bad,” he added.
Allen Medford was taken to the John Cochran VA hospital, also in St. Louis, where he underwent plastic surgery to remove scar tissue and infected tissue.
“After that, they sent him back to Jefferson Barracks for recovery, but we got him out of there,” Medford said.
In total, Medford was at St. Louis’ VA facilities for roughly four months – from May through August – for a small foot wound.
Stephen Medford said his father has since moved to South Carolina in hopes of finding a better VA hospital.
He also said Progressives Today exclusive reports about the filth, feces, urine and trash described by other patients is completely accurate, though it’s the attitude of some VA staffers that’s the most frustrating.
“Some of the doctors have been fairly decent, but the nursing support staff has been extremely disappointing,” Medford said. “The main thing is they are aloof to any people’s real problems or complaints.”
Most often, nurses spend their time “sitting round the nursing station … joking,” he said.
“There was multiple times food was late or food was early. It wasn’t on time,” Medford said as another example of the nonchalant attitude from support staff.
“My father almost died from that” same type of dereliction of duty when he wasn’t properly moved to prevent the bed sores, Medford said. “So it was a difficult thing for me to deal with.”
“It was completely preventable,” he said.
Medford believes his father’s story, and the numerous reports about similar and more egregious abuse in other places, says a lot about what Americans have to look forward to under the new federal healthcare system.
“The more that comes out, you start to realize there’s very little accountability,” Medford said. “They are basing the entire (Obamacare) system on this system.
“When you see this great success of the VA system is a bold-faced lie, you start to question the system they are trying to place upon us.”