If you'll let me, I'd like to interrupt your TLs for a moment to talk to you about Pat Duva, a 29-year-old Marine veteran who is dying of a rare brain cancer, and whose family asked me to help share his story.
connectingvets.radio.com/articles/29-ye… @USMC
Pat is a history nerd and wanted to be a teacher. You'd want him on your trivia team. He from Jersey and fancies himself a pizza connoisseur. He turned down full college scholarships to become a Marine after watching the 9/11 terrorist attacks firsthand.
connectingvets.radio.com/articles/29-ye…
"Pat always said, 'I went into the Marine Corps a healthy 18-year-old and I came out with all of these issues,'" his sister told me. "He felt in his heart that if he never joined, he would not have had the cancer. But he would not have changed anything." connectingvets.radio.com/articles/29-ye…
A VA hospital delayed his cancer diagnosis by months, his family says, dismissing his complaints of back pain, headaches and double vision.
"Chronic back pain is common in veterans," he was told, then sent home.
connectingvets.radio.com/articles/29-ye…
Pat is now in hospice and end-of-life care at home. He can't see, eat, drink and can barely speak except to tell his family he loves them in the little time remaining to him.
Here's the GoFundMe started by his family: gofundme.com/f/patrick039s-…
Pat's family wants his story to reach his brothers and sisters in arms to help prevent what happened to him and his family.
"If that happens, Pat will live forever, he's larger than life and he will never be forgotten," his sister Brianne said.
connectingvets.radio.com/articles/29-ye…
To be very clear, Pat and his family are by no means alone in this fight.
My Toxic Inferno series of stories chronicles other veterans who have died, or suffered because of their exposures.
The series starts with this story: connectingvets.radio.com/articles/toxic…
@H7Foundation

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More from @AbbieRBennett

5 Aug
New: More than 2 dozen vets and half a dozen VA pharmacy staffers told me they're seeing veterans' USPS mail-order prescriptions delayed by weeks.

"We are swamped with patient complaints over delivery delays," one VA pharmacy chief said.

connectingvets.radio.com/articles/veter…
About 80% of VA outpatient prescriptions are delivered by mail, fulfilled at 7 massive, "highly automated" hub pharmacies.

So far, VA officials are providing little to no information about how the USPS delays are VA's mail-order prescription system.

connectingvets.radio.com/articles/veter…
This is all VA officials would tell me:
"VA always encourages veterans to order routine prescriptions in advance. When it comes to emergent prescriptions, VA fills them onsite or uses commercial carriers to ensure timely delivery."

connectingvets.radio.com/articles/veter…
Read 4 tweets
3 Jun
New from @USGAO: In January 2017, Trump said he and VA would consult private citizens to help address VA issues. This raised questions about influence on VA’s decisions.
GAO found interactions between VA officials and private citizens in 2016 and 2018.
gao.gov/products/GAO-2…
@USGAO VA officials communicated with these 3 men with connections to the president about:
- Contract for a $16B electronic health record system
- Mobile app development
- Suicide prevention campaign
- Medical device registry
- Personnel decisions, including Under Secretary for Health
Read 30 tweets
20 Apr
This timeline from VA on how the department prepped for #coronavirus is wild and let me tell you why. Here's what it leaves out (this'll have to be a thread):
- Let's start with Feb. 27, when VASEC Wilkie turned down additional help from Congress. connectingvets.radio.com/articles/va-to…
This was followed by 4 weeks when VA did not communicate with the public, vets, VSOs or members of Congress as requested about a coronavirus plan.
All the while, VA leaders assured Congress they were prepared as the first veterans began testing positive.
connectingvets.radio.com/articles/veter…
VA began shutting down visitation at nursing homes and other facilities full of vulnerable veterans, but still was sharing few details of its plans by the first week of March. connectingvets.radio.com/articles/va-li…
Read 28 tweets
20 Mar
March 20 UPDATE:
- A second veteran has died of the virus.
- VA now tracking 130 cases of veterans testing positive for #Covid19. Up from 83 yesterday.
- VA also says it has administered "over 1,192 tests" nationwide.
connectingvets.radio.com/articles/va-is…
The first veteran to die of the virus was in Portland, Ore. The second was in White River Junction, Vt.
connectingvets.radio.com/articles/first…
I'll say it again: I'm hearing lots of accounts of other sick vets or veterans who have died because of the #coronavirus who are not on this list. I wish I had better answers for why VA did not include those on its list.
Read 4 tweets
16 Mar
UPDATE: VA now says it is tracking 30 veterans who have tested positive, or presumptively positive, for #COVID19. #coronavirus

VA still says it has administered 100 tests -- unchanged since last week.

1 veteran so far has died because of the virus.

connectingvets.radio.com/articles/first…
Those 30 cases are in: Colorado, California, Nevada, Maine, Arizona, New York, Ohio, Georgia, Louisiana, Oregon, Washington, North Dakota and Vermont.
VA has 3,000 test kits on hand — 1,000 from @CDCgov and 2,000 VA produced.

Of that 3,000, VA officials say they have administered “over 100.”
Read 5 tweets
10 Dec 19
.@HASCRepublicans @HASCDemocrats hearing this afternoon on military diversity in recruiting and retention. Doesn’t look like any of the witnesses are women. armedservices.house.gov/hearings?ID=B2…

Hearing was expected to start at 2 p.m. but is delayed.
@HASCRepublicans @HASCDemocrats Public and media were just allowed into the hearing room. Hearing still delayed, but here's where you should be able to stream it when we begin:
@HASCRepublicans @HASCDemocrats We've got brass from 4 branches:
- Lt. Gen. Thomas Seamands, deputy chief of staff, G-1 for Army
- Vice Adm. John Nowell Jr., chief of Naval personnel
1/2
Read 39 tweets

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