Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Editorials

Another voice: 'Dangerous' doctors have no place within the VA

When someone signs up to serve in the U.S. military, that person goes in with eyes open knowing they might be sent to a foreign field, unfriendly waters, or dangerous skies. These are our bravest citizens, and they go through extensive training. Still, once deployed they are never absolutely certain what challenge, obstacle or life-and-death circumstance awaits.

That should never be the case when it comes to veterans and their health care. The character, efficiency and overall quality of that care should always be professional, above-board, and transparent for all concerned to see.

Sadly, apparently, that has not been the case. According to a months-long investigative report from USA Today, the mistakes and ineptitude of certain "problem" doctors and surgeons within the Department of Veteran Affairs were concealed for years, and in some cases the offending doctors, like some pedophile priests in the Catholic church, were simply shepherded off to another locale, without their misdeeds or failed practices ever being properly disclosed.

A chilling example of such dereliction of duty and gross misconduct relates to the case of a podiatrist in Maine who reportedly botched one surgery after another. The doctor, who was described during a court deposition as a "dangerous surgeon," is said to have drilled the wrong screw into the foot of one veteran, and severed a critical tendon in another. He cut into patients who didn't need surgery at all, and twice he failed to properly fuse the ankle of a woman who broke it during Army boot camp. The woman, April Wood, ended up having her leg amputated rather than endure the pain.

Rather than fire the doctor responsible, or report him to a national database that tracks problem doctors, VA officials allowed him to resign and quietly move on to private practice, then failed for years to disclose his past to his patients and state regulators who licensed him. According to USA Today, he now works as a podiatrist in New York City.

In the last decade the VA — the nation's largest employer of health care workers — has been rocked by one embarrassing scandal after another, in regard to treatment and even basic wait times for veteran patients with serious, even life-threatening ailments.

What should be made absolutely clear to our veterans and their families, and backed up by action, is that once they complete their service they will have access to first-rate medical treatment, when and wherever they need it, by doctors and nurses who are professionals, and who have only their best interests at heart.

We, as a nation, should offer them no less.

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Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are traveling to the state capital today and declaring "never again.íí A prominent Florida Republican fundraiser vows he wonít raise another nickel until his party approves new gun controls. Across F...
Published: 02/19/18

Editorial: No more doubt about Russian meddling in election

The latest indictment by the Justice Department special counsel, Robert Mueller, refutes President Donald Trumpís claims that Russian interference in the 2016 election was a Democratic hoax. The indictment details the lengths Russian conspirators too...
Published: 02/19/18
Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Itís not popular in Washington or virtually anywhere else these days to express concern about the rising federal deficit. Congressional Republicans who used to be deficit hawks first voted to cut taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, then rais...
Published: 02/17/18
Editorial: Buckhorn should not appeal verdict in firefighterís case

Editorial: Buckhorn should not appeal verdict in firefighterís case

The city of Tampa should have taken Tanja Vidovic seriously from the start when the Tampa firefighter complained about her treatment in the workplace. Now that a jury and judge have spoken, itís time for City Hall to cut its losses, learn from its mi...
Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Editorial: CareerSource troubles mount as public trust drops

Editorial: CareerSource troubles mount as public trust drops

The dark cloud enveloping Tampa Bayís job placement centers keeps growing. There are accusations of forged documents, evidence of nepotism and concerns about grossly inflated performance numbers that could be tied to receiving more public money and b...
Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Editorials: Prayers and platitudes after shootings arenít enough

Editorials: Prayers and platitudes after shootings arenít enough

Even before the victims of another mass shooting at another public school were identified, Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, state legislators and members of Congress rushed to South Florida or to social media to offer their thoughts and p...
Published: 02/15/18
Editorial: DCF review should get to the bottom of Hillsborough foster care issues

Editorial: DCF review should get to the bottom of Hillsborough foster care issues

The Florida Department of Children and Families is right to call for a timely and "comprehensive" review of Hillsborough Countyís foster care system. Though the probe is a reaction to a recent case involving a child who was left unattended, the revie...
Published: 02/14/18

A Washington Post editorial: Modernize 911 calling before it becomes an emergency

This Friday marks the 50th anniversary of the first 911 emergency call placed in the United States. Since then, uncounted lives have been saved and people helped. It has been a great accomplishment of government.But even as an estimated 240 million 9...
Published: 02/13/18
Updated: 02/14/18
Editorial: Scott, Cabinet cannot be trusted on felonsí voting rights

Editorial: Scott, Cabinet cannot be trusted on felonsí voting rights

Gov. Rick Scott always has been grudging and imperious about restoring the voting rights of felons, requiring them to wait for years before begging the governor and Cabinet to be recognized again as citizens. That arrogance is on full display in a le...
Published: 02/13/18
Another voice: ĎDreamersí donít know whom to trust on immigration

Another voice: ĎDreamersí donít know whom to trust on immigration

Immigrants brought into this country illegally as children by their parents may be wondering whom to trust. The political theater being played out in Washington hasnít settled the status of either the "Dreamers" or the estimated 11 million other undo...
Published: 02/13/18