Diary

Tammy Duckworth's Callous Disregard For Her Fellow Veterans

[mc_name name='Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)' chamber='house' mcid='D000622' ](D-IL)
[mc_name name=’Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’D000622′ ](D-IL)

Whistleblowers that used to work at the Hines VA hospital in Chicago have come forward with allegations that Democrat congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, who is seeking the Democrat nomination for the US Senate, was callous towards the gross mismanagement and abuses towards veteran patients at Hines saying that, “I know all about how the VA runs, that’s just how it is. You’re never going to change anything there,” According to a report from the Washington Free Beacon.

Duckworth, a double amputee Iraq war veteran, made those comments to the VA whistleblowers who were trying to get things changed at the Hines VA hospital.  The whistleblowers say that heart test results were going unread for months and even years and that several veterans died while their cardiology test results sat around collecting dust. The whistleblowers also allege that Hines was among those VA hospitals and clinics from around the country that engaged in the practice of using secret waiting list to manipulate wait times for veterans seeking care.

The whistleblowers are frustrated with Duckworth and Illinois Democrat Senator “Little” Dick Durbin because neither of them did much of anything about the allegations at Hines and that VA investigations into the scandal never resulted in the whistleblowers themselves being interviewed nor the evidence they have being examined.

From the WFB:

Officials at the Hines VA reportedly kept sick patients waiting months for appointments and maintained yearlong backlogs of unread heart test evaluations, according to Dr. Lisa Nee and Germaine Clarno, two former employees.

The hospital is now at the center of a national scandal over patient mistreatment at the VA, which has prompted a string of internal investigations and an ongoing Senate probe led by [mc_name name=’Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’K000360′ ] (R., Ill.). The hospital’s head resigned last year amid a national outcry.

However, the whistleblowers said the lack of response from Duckworth and Durbin was troubling and raises questions about whether political pressure in Illinois has delayed an impartial investigation into the practices at Hines VA.

Clarno, a Democrat and union leader, said she met with Duckworth three times between 2013 and 2014 to report on “secret waiting lists” at the hospital, which hid the fact that patients were going months before seeing a doctor after calling to schedule an appointment.

Nee also provided evidence that heart tests were going unread for months or years. The doctor said that when she began working at the Hines facility she was given boxes full of year-old cardiology tests that had never been examined. After she started reviewing them, she realized many of the patients had already died from heart conditions.

According to Clarno and Nee, Duckworth said they would not be able to change the practices because that is “just how it is” at VA hospitals.

“[Duckworth told us,] ‘I know all about how the VA runs, that’s just how it is. You’re never going to change anything there,’” said Nee, who worked as a cardiologist at Hines from 2011 to 2013.

Nee said Duckworth was “quite dismissive, she never followed up with me, and I never tried to reach out to her again.”

This isn’t Tammy Duckworth’s only problem with her treatment of those responsible for providing care to our veterans.  Duckworth will be going to trial in April of next year in a lawsuit brought by two former employees of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs which Duckworth ran from 2006 tell 2009.  That lawsuit alleges that Duckworth retaliated against the employees because they had brought forth complaints against the manager of a downstate VA facility. One of the people suing Duckworth says that she was told by Duckworth to, “Do your job and keep your mouth shut.”

Emails obtained by the ILGOP in 2012 show Duckworth admitting that she made mistakes related to the punishments she handed out to the two state VA employees according to a report at the time from Breitbart.  In those emails Duckworth also asked her staff to find ways to justify the firing of one of the employees after the fact.

Duckworth and her camp refused to answer questions or provide comment to the Washington Free Beacon.

Congresswoman Duckworth’s callous disregard for what the whistleblowers have to say, and her defense of the VA system is a slap in the face to all of her fellow veterans who are both in need of and deserve prompt medical care from the VA and to all those that died as a result of the VA’s incompetence. They deserve much, much better from her.