The V.A. Hospital is a Joke

Dear Mr. President & South Dallas V.A. Hospital Director,

The Veterans Affairs Hospital in South Dallas is the most atrocious building, company and hospital I’ve ever had to set foot in. The receptionists you employ to handle the front face of your organization are horrible, rude and miserable human beings. I hope that with this letter, it challenges you to take a closer look into how the people who selflessly fought for this country, are being treated with such a lack of respect, a dog wouldn’t bother its time.

On February 6, my husband and I spent almost six-god-forsaken-hours at your E.R. not counting the two hours it took to drive both ways. He didn’t even get to see a doctor. A total of 10 hours wasted at the hands of your entire staff. Tell me, how would that make you feel? Do you remember what it feels like to be treated like a peon?

The whole fiasco started a week ago, when my husband injured something near his groin area. After two days without a change in the swelling or pain, that Wednesday morning he called his primary doctors office in Denton, another V.A. clinic, to schedule an appointment. That receptionist took down his information and promised a phone call by the end of the day.

No such call came, instead an explanation that appointments could be made after business hours, implying my husband needed to practice patience. So he did, for three more days until on Friday when he left work early to sit in their offices until they had to see him. It’s hard to promise a phone call to someone when they are standing in front of you.

His primary doctor explained that he wasn’t sure what was causing the inflammation but that if it were him, he’d make a trip down to the V.A. hospital in South Dallas. A urology appointment could take at least a month, and with it being so close to the family jewels, it was in his best interests to make sure nothing major was wrong.

So here we are, still waiting, staring at this faux wood walls waiting to hear his name called. So that he can vanish behind the mysterious doors that are so damn hard to get through. Where nobody knows how to get in, but plenty have made it through, just not my husband.

A women at the from desk, rudely waves off my husband at the four hour mark, when he questioned if his name had already been called. “You’re still waiting for a bed.” She couldn’t even remove her eyes from the computer screen to give him the shitty news. Where did these people, if they can even be called that, get their people skills? Didn’t they receive any customer service training?

These same employees were chumming it up with their fellow coworkers while texting and browsing around on their phones. A constant show of how much they didn’t care about the people waiting beyond their plastic patrician. What a bunch of disgusting individuals.

But it’s true, isn’t it? They don’t care, because this hospital gives “free” health care to its guests and if you don’t want to receive the free part, you are more than welcome to visit a regular E.R. I heard that solution come from a few of your employees mouths, as a problem solver for other wannabe patients. Is this how you want to be represented?

Two more hours have passed, and this time it’s my turn to do the questioning, women to women. “Hey, I was just wondering if there is any way you could tell me how much longer it’s going to be, we’ve been here almost six hours.”

Without as so much of  glance my way she told me, “he’s still waiting on a bed.” She never even asked about my last name.

“We’ve been here longer than all the people in this waiting room, you can’t give me any information on how much longer it’s going to be, or where he is on the list?”

“No, we have a priority list and that is how we see our patients.”

I had tears in my eyes because of how frustrating it was, words couldn’t describe the feeling, only the sounds of steam coming from my ears and my teeth grinding gave truth to my emotions, furious.

“Well when will my husband be a priority? How much time do we have to pay before he is allowed a doctor?”

I have few suggestions for how to better operate this lack of professional taste and common courtesy company, and it’s to employ people who have a heart. Administer attitude and personality tests, those in the green are only allowed to deal with the public, the rest of your barbarians can work with behind closed doors.

The amount of disrespect shown in such a small space is sickening. I have dealt with the public since I was 15-years-old and I have always treated people the way that I would want to be treated. Communication is what makes all relationships work, and it’s a crying shame the people in charge of this world don’t know that.

It’s a shame our own country can’t protect the same people who fought to protect them. They fulfilled their contract, now fulfill yours. If small business owners ran their businesses the way the government runs theirs, they would be out of business and maybe that’s the solution to the problem.

Get your act together.

Regrettably,

An angry, taxpaying, higher educated, concerned and frustrated wife.

“Shinseki Obama VA hospital”Jeff Koterba May 22, 2014

**Update** A little over a week later the V.A. called my husband asking if he was okay. The hospital called his name at 5 a.m. the next morning (11 hours after we arrived) and he wasn’t there. They were calling to make sure he was still alive …

4 Comments

    1. This is beyond true.

      My dad has had pancreatic cancer and various other problems since 2004 so has to visit the V.A. Hospital in Dallas every month for doctor’s appointments. I’ve dealt with this same situation countless times. They treat their patients disrespectfully and could careless if they get properly treated. Not to mention trying to park there is almost impossible.

      1. I’m so sorry to hear that. I will keep your father in good thoughts. I just can’t wrap my head around how people can treat other people like that.

        I am no saint, but I could never be so cold to a stranger who is in a place trying to seek help, especially where it is my job.

        I honestly can’t imagine what it must feel like to deal with this people on a regular basis, I would’ve been on the 10o’clock news already.

  1. Let me give you an Amen!

    The V.A. continues its spiral down the drain.

    The Washington Times stated “The VA ranked as the second-worst place to work among large federal agencies in 2014, and a top department official is begging V.A. employees to submit ideas to try to improve the situation. The Veterans Affairs Department ranked 18th out of 19 large federal agencies in a list based on employees’ feedback on surveys from this spring, or about the time the VA began to face scrutiny over a broken bureaucracy and poor care of veterans. Only the Department of Homeland Security rated lower.”

    “begging employees to submit ideas to try and improve the situation” !!??

    What!!?? From the experience you had, It sounds like the employees are a huge part of the problem!! I’m all for listening to your staff because they are the folks doing this job day in and day out….but….you have to have leadership that values it customers, THE VETERANS. Get someone in there to demand a higher standard, or hit the road Jack. This mentality is unfortunately so pervasive in the “government is smarter than you” culture. “Get a government job and you need an act of God to get fired”. How sad that our Service men and women have to put up with this kind of treatment. They couldn’t be at more opposite ends of the scale, on one hand you have someone who is volunteering to put their life on hold and put themselves in harms way for family, honor and country, and on the other end you have someone who could care less about the sacrifices made by others to defend their very way of life. Instead of helping, they do exactly the opposite. It is a stain on the fabric of America that we treat our returning warriors with such disdain. New management had better make the difference and make it quickly.

    How can anyone claim to be a genuine “American”, and not respect the military with everything they’ve got. Those that run down the military and fail to support them will one day meet their Maker and lets hope that they’ll have a chance to talk with the men (and women) who were in the trenches at Verdun in WWI, in Pearl Harbor & Midway in WWII, in Korea and Vietnam and most recently in Iraq and Afghanistan…and what will they say to those brave souls who gave, as Abraham Lincoln lamented, “The last full measure of devotion”? They might find themselves in a rapid descent towards the netherworlds if they tell a soldier or sailor….

    “You’re not a priority yet”

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