American veterans dying while on secret wait list: a question of integrity

CNN has reported that at least 40 American veterans at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system have died because they did not receive timely medical care.  The report exposes the duplicitous practice of maintaining a “secret” list of patients with actual wait times, and an “official” wait list used to make it appear that all veterans are receiving treatment within 14 to 30 days.  In reality, about 1,400 to 1,600 veterans have been waiting months for treatment.  According to a physician interviewed by CNN and emails obtained by the news agency, staff at Phoenix Veterans Affairs were aware that the practice is unethical.   The physician interviewed described them as “frustrated” and “upset,” but afraid to “speak out or say anything”  because they know they will be fired if they do. [CNN]

One thought on “American veterans dying while on secret wait list: a question of integrity”

  1. The story illustrates the dilemma faced by health care workers required to participate in what they consider to be unethical conduct when protests or refusal to do what they are told is likely to result in dismissal. It also demonstrates one of the consequences of adopting a policy that health care workers must do what they believe to be wrong.

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