Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Nelson demands details of death

Rich Stecher died while in VA care on June 30.

Rich Stecher died while in VA care on June 30.

TAMPA — Sen. Bill Nelson asked the James A. Haley VA Medical Center this week to provide him a full explanation about the care provided to a man who died in its care.

The St. Petersburg Times reported last week that Haley left out critical information about the care it gave Richard Stecher when Nelson's office asked about the case earlier.

Stecher, 64, of Tarpon Springs died June 30 as a result of a perforated bowel obstruction.

Stecher's longtime companion complained about Haley's treatment of Stecher to Nelson's office and to Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor.

But Haley's response to the congressmen in July left out seemingly important information. Among the things Bilirakis and Nelson weren't told:

Haley's chief of staff had apologized to Stecher's companion. Haley concluded three doctors "missed opportunities" to treat Stecher. Stecher had to get a CAT scan at a non-VA facility because it had a staff shortage; and Stecher should have been admitted to the hospital in April, two months before he was admitted.

The VA has said privacy concerns limited how much information it could provide lawmakers.

Bilirakis also plans to meet with VA officials, perhaps next week, to discuss the case.

"We need to get to the bottom of this case," Nelson said in a statement. "If mistakes were made, the public needs to know whether the hospital is taking corrective actions to prevent them from happening again."

Nelson demands details of death 08/14/08 [Last modified: Thursday, August 14, 2008 10:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trump sprinkles political attacks into Scout Jamboree speech

    GLEN JEAN, W.Va. — Ahead of President Donald Trump's appearance Monday at the National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, the troops were offered some advice on the gathering's official blog: Fully hydrate. Be "courteous" and "kind." And avoid the kind of divisive chants heard during the 2016 campaign such as "build …

    President Donald Trump addresses the Boy Scouts of America's 2017 National Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve in Glen Jean, W.Va., July 24, 2017. [New York Times]
  2. Trump, seething about attorney general, speculates about firing Sessions, sources say

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has spoken with advisers about firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as he continues to rage against Sessions' decision to recuse himself from all matters related to the Russia investigation.

  3. John McCain to return to Senate for health care vote

    WASHINGTON — The Senate plans to vote Tuesday to try to advance a sweeping rewrite of the nation's health-care laws with the last-minute arrival of Sen. John McCain — but tough talk from President Donald Trump won no new public support from skeptical GOP senators for the flagging effort that all but …

  4. Last orca calf born in captivity at a SeaWorld park dies


    ORLANDO — The last killer whale born in captivity under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program died Monday at the company's San Antonio, Texas, park, SeaWorld said.

    Thet orca Takara helps guide her newborn, Kyara, to the water's surface at SeaWorld San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas, in April. Kyara was the final killer whale born under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program. The Orlando-based company says 3-month-old Kyara died Monday. [Chris Gotshall/SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment via AP]
  5. Blake Snell steps up, but Rays lose to Orioles anyway (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell stepped up when he had to Monday and delivered an impressive career-high seven-plus innings for the Rays. That it wasn't enough in what ended up a 5-0 loss to the Orioles that was their season-high fifth straight is symptomatic of the mess they are in right now.

    Tim Beckham stands hands on hips after being doubled off first.