To the editor:
We would like to take this opportunity to express our feelings and concerns about a visit Sept. 20 to the ER at The Memorial Hospital in Craig.
Our Dad/Grandfather is a World War II veteran and is covered under the VA plan. When he started experiencing chest pains, we called the Grand Junction Veterans Hospital, and the nurse told us to take him to the ER here, and they would stabilize him and transport him to Grand Junction.
We arrived at The Memorial Hospital and told the nurses what the nurse in Grand Junction had told us and they said that if he needed to be transported, they would take him to Denver. The medical personnel did tests, which were evaluated by the on-call doctor. He told us the condition Dad/Grandfather was in was not an emergency. He refused to contact anyone from the VA Craig Telehealth Clinic or the Veterans Hospital.
The doctor recommended that we wait to get an appointment within five to seven days to get Dad/Grandfather into Grand Junction. Our family tried to tell the doctor that we were concerned, but we feel the doctor did not take our concerns seriously. The doctor made comments about how he wasn't impressed with the care the VA offered. The doctor prescribed pain medication (which, when researched, the side effects could be: excess dizziness, difficulty breathing, mood changes and hallucinations), then released Dad/Grandfather. Dad/Grandfather experienced these, which lasted 12 hours. Why was this medication prescribed to a COPD patient?
We brought Dad/Grandfather home and monitored his condition, which was deteriorating. On the morning of Sept. 22, we transported Dad/Grandfather to the VA Craig Telehealth Clinic. The nurse there looked over the discharge papers from the ER doctor at the Memorial Hospital and said that Dad/Grandfather should have been transported to Grand Junction on Sept. 20, and the medical staff at The Memorial Hospital should have contacted the VA hospital in Grand Junction. We were told to get him to Grand Junction immediately.
When we arrived at the Veterans Hospital in Grand Junction, the medical team was prepared and admitted Dad/Grandfather. Tests were taken, and Dad/Grandfather had to be given blood because he was severely anemic. Dad/Grandfather was kept in the ICU unit for three days. We feel that if we had listened to the doctor's recommendation here in Craig, Dad/Grandfather might not have lasted five to seven days.
We are very thankful that the VA Telehealth Care Clinic was established; otherwise, we would have not known who to turn to with our questions and our concerns.
We also would like to take this time to thank Dave Newman at the Telehealth Care Clinic for his understanding and care while he has been in Craig.
and Tony Terry, Marcia Sfreddo, Marcelle Scullion and Mari Scullion