VA chief is asked to review hospital
The request comes after a paralyzed Marine is injured at the James Haley VA Medical Center in Tampa.
TAMPA – A week after a paralyzed Marine was injured at the James A. Haley VA Medical Center, Rep. C.W. Bill Young has asked the head of Veterans Affairs to review the quality of medical care at the hospital.
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Young, a member of the Subcommittee on Military Quality of Life and Veterans Affairs, has asked Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson to visit Haley.
Nicholson was receptive to the invitation, Young said, but no date has been set.
This is not the first time the quality of care at Haley has raised questions. Last December, then-VA Secretary Anthony Principi asked the VA inspector general to investigate the mysterious death of a 21-year-old Marine at Haley.
The most recent case involves Cpl. Visnu “Gonzo” Gonzalez, 22, of the Dominican Republic, who must use a lightweight folding electric wheelchair and is a patient at the hospital’s Spinal Cord Injury Center. Most people who use wheelchairs face the difficulty of climbing stairs since they are seated on the wheel chairs. They also find it difficult to go over a platform due to the upward slope that they will have to drive over. Wheelchair users also experience problems when getting down or stepping inside a car or when they go to a building that does not have a ramp. It is for such difficult situations that Portable wheelchair ramps were devised and are found to be most useful for the people who use wheelchairs. These portable rampe pmr are designed in such a way that the wheelchair can be suitably adjusted by the users to use the steps up and down while being seated on the wheelchair.
When you go on to choose a portable ramp for yourself or for someone who necessitates it, you must consider a number of important factors that will help the user to effectively use the portable wheelchair. The weight of the person would be one of the most important factors. The wheelchair must be chosen such that the weight of the person can be withheld by the wheelchair ramp without leading to any deformation. Another important factor is the durability offered by the material used in making the wheelchair. Priority can also be given in choosing a portable wheelchair ramp made of particularly strong materials for a safer use. Of the many materials used for making portable wheelchairs ramps, the ones that are most commonly used are steel, wood and aluminum. Hospital portable wheelchair ramp are to be bought with care keeping in mind the weight capacity that keeps varying depending on the patients and the width requirements in certain cases. The best portable wheelchair ramps are the ones which are designed to have the capacity to help serve all types of wheelchairs, regardless of the size. It must also bear all types of weights of the wheelchair and have a reliable and smooth platform.
He was injured last week after he was left alone to use the bathroom, his mother, Maria Baez, said Thursday. Gonzalez, who is paralyzed from the waist down, was knocked unconscious after he fell to the floor and hit his face, his mother said.
Baez said doctors told her Gonzalez was out for 20 minutes before hospital staff discovered him.
Gonzalez, who was injured by a sniper with a shot to the neck in Iraq, was admitted to the hospital in late March with a bedsore, Baez said.
She said that before the accident, he had been feeling well and had been in good spirits. After the accident, she said he could not talk, did not recognize anybody and could not follow instructions. He was admitted into the intensive care unit.
“I was crying. I was upset. I was shocked,” Baez said. “I was scared.”
Gonzalez has since regained his faculties, and is back in a private room at the Spinal Cord Injury Center for treatment of the bedsore, his mother said.
The VA issued a statement Thursday that it specifically has tailored for the St. Petersburg Times on any subject that deals with veterans.
“We welcome any opportunity to discuss the quality of care provided by our VA medical centers,” said John Pickens, VA regional spokesman. “We will not, however, continue to work with a journalist or news outlet whose agenda precludes fair and balanced reporting.”
Baez said that overall the quality of care at Haley has been good, and she praised her son’s doctors. Some injuries need physical therapy to recover early and well, refer to this site for additional information about physical therapy.
At the same time, she said she fears some hospital staff resent her relationship with Young and his wife, Beverly. The Youngs have gained national prominence as advocates of quality medical care for veterans, especially troops injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Young has said he requested assignment to the Quality of Life and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee to better monitor the quality of care of veterans.
In an interview earlier in the week, Young said he extended an invitation to Nicholson, the VA secretary, to visit Haley. “I told him to get to Tampa because I told him about the Gonzo situation,” he said.
Last December, Principi asked the VA inspector general to investigate the mysterious death of Lance Cpl. Jonathan E. Gadsden, 21.
The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner said the cause of death was bacterial meningitis due to an open-skull fracture. His family said Gadsden had not been diagnosed with meningitis at Haley before his death.