VA Hospital Experiences

For the past several years I have been receiving treatments for Agent Orange-related health issues. I started my care in Spokane WA at the Spokane Hospital and today I continue receiving care at the Carl T Hayden Hospital in Phoenix AZ. Throughout my care, my experiences have been amazing. The staffs and Doctors at both locations have been incredible. The pharmacies have always been responsive to my needs and always timely.

I have also heard many of the so-called nightmare stories that people share about bad experiences which I have been fortunate to not have. I have observed a few things that may lend itself to part of the problems.

First and foremost the system works very well if you follow the procedures and understand the need for following the steps. Sadly a couple of the problems are the result of behaviors by some Vets themselves. For example, each week when I go for my cancer treatments there are many no shows for appointments as evidenced by names announced and no one responding. By not showing up for appointments that means allotted times go unfilled and people who might have been able to utilize that time are not able to. In talking with staff and Doctors I discovered that almost 50% of appointments are not kept by the Vets.

Secondly, from observation and discussions with staff and Doctors, many Vets do not even work at taking care of themselves or follow the care recommendations. Now no doubt many have issues beyond just the physical and many may not have a support system within their personal life but for whatever reason, it appears that many of those Vets seeking care fail to take any responsibility for their health in many ways.

It is my opinion that the staffs including the nurses and Doctors are very dedicated and hard-working people who are committed to taking excellent care of the Vets who need them. The system works but it does take some effort on our part as well.


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