Each month we at Boom Bap Radio will bestow the award of “The Douchey McDouche Bag” award on the biggest dickheads in the news. This category is not limited to politicians or entertainers or even athletes – there’s room for everyone on this bench.
However, each month one person stands out as the absolute winner of our coveted prize.
The award is based on the name I gave a menial worker from a big box department store, who insisted that my item was no longer in stock without looking. This douche actually made me order the item online and had a whole five minute explanation of why the product was not available days after Christmas. Evidently it was shipped back to some remote warehouse – over the hills and far, far away.
Imagine my surprise when about an hour later –while walking to the other end of the store I found piles of my item, neatly stacked and very much available.
So this one goes out to that collared shirt wonder, who obviously knew nothing, but before he knew a whole friggin’ lot –Douche Bag!! Hey dickwad - this award goes out to you – You Douche!!!
The May 2014 Douchey McDouche Bag Award
For this month’s Douche we had to examine a long standing set of practices that showed how ill our Nation’s Veterans care system has been for those returning from war and trying to get medical care.
We are of course talking about a smelly scandal that arose at several Veterans Affairs Hospitals, but has since been identified as some kind of douche-fied book cooking scheme that forced our Nation’s heroes onto secret waiting lists and sometimes into the grave all to make it appear an overburdened system was working like clockwork.
The May Douchey McDouche Bag Award goes to all of those wonderful VA employees who found it necessary to abuse the medically needy men and women who served our country and protected our rights from the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli. A douchey bunch who decided it was better to order doctors and clerks to hide the fact that the system was sick rather than fix it.
According to former facility employees, charges of patient backlogs, a shortage of physicians and death by waiting list, were just a few of the special treatment options available at many of the nation’s VA hospitals.
The charges, which had been lodged for at least the past couple of years, were distressing to President Barack Obama and led to sabre rattling and vows of an investigation from Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.
However, during Shinseki’s investigation, more peculiarities emerged and a continuing pattern of ordered creative accounting as it related to wait times for vets and hidden deaths were found with institutionalized regularity.
By late in the month, the President was accepting Shinseki’s resignation and appointing Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson as his replacement.
Concerns about VA hospitals began back in 2012 when an ER doctor warned an incoming physician that the emergency room for the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care System facility was overwhelmed and dangerous.
By April of 2014 patients and whistleblowers were lining up to give testimonials about their experiences at the VA.
Most of the veterans complained that just getting an appointment at the VA was difficult at several facilities around the country. Relatives of veterans said some of their family members had to wait so long for treatment that they beat their respective ailments by dying.
Further allegations charged that the VA had created a system that prioritized treatment based on seriousness of illness and then covered it up by creating two sets of lists – one for those who were treated and another for those who desired treatment, but were not worthy.
A House of Representatives investigation arose to examine the charges of irregularities and VA abuses at facilities in Phoenix, Fort Collins, Colorado; Pittsburgh, Miami, and Columbia, South Carolina, to name a few.
Miss Thang, There Is No Guest List Tonight
Dr. Samuel Foote, a longtime physician at the VA, further alleged that the disturbing numbers in Phoenix were part of conscious effort by doctors and administrators to give the appearance of improved performance.
Foote said backlogged patients were instead shifted to a secret, special list. He said the special list covered-up the constant backlog and magically eliminated long wait times for treatment.
According to reports, more than 8 million of the nation’s 21 million veterans are now enrolled in VA health care, although only about 6.5 million seek VA treatment every year. The VA has been described as the largest single healthcare provider in the United States.
Foote’s concerns uncovered a secret mode of operation that not only jeopardized the health of our nation’s service people, but exposed the VA’s douchey game of hide and seek; a practice that had become so commonplace that by 2014 it was institutionalized.
In fact, an estimated 10 percent of vets have to wait a month or longer to just get an appointment at government facilities. A recent audit estimated more than 57,000 veterans waited at least three months for initial appointments. The report also found almost 65,000 vets sought appointments, but never were seen by physicians.
In Phoenix, the department’s inspector general said at least 17 veterans died while awaiting appointments and 18 more veterans who were identified on a different list, also died. While initially the VA did not tie any of the deaths to the inability of vets to access services, later reports allege Phoenix vets who died were put on a list and then resurrected back to life to keep the death count low.
A longtime Phoenix scheduling secretary also alleged that she was instructed to hide any new request for care to make the numbers look better.
One family member, Sally Eliano of San Tan Valley alleged that her father-in-law died in November of 2013 from bladder cancer after an endless run of delays and errors at the Phoenix VA.
Eliano reportedly once grew so impatient with long waits for treatment that she physically delivered a urine sample for testing to the Phoenix hospital. Rebuffed for breaking protocol, her relative received instructions to visit a VA physician with urgency instead of immediate treatment.
The Arizona Republic reported that her father-in-law pursued treatment and was placed on a waiting list and not offered treatment until he was rushed to a non-VA affiliated hospital. The 71-year-old Navy veteran was diagnosed with terminal tumors and died shortly thereafter.
A week after his death, Eliano was contacted for the appointment she sought with a VA physician.
As investigations continue into the VA mess, it appears the scandal of 2014 is the latest incident of veteran mistreatment. Something that has been almost a trademark of post war life since it was founded.
This Ain’t Something New – This is Old and Dirty
Since Gen. George Washington formed the first Continental Army, care for our veterans has seemingly been well intentioned, but often fell short time after time.
America’s first soldiers were often forced to forage for food, pay and warm clothing. The march to liberty was often done on frost bitten, bloody, rag covered feet often seeking good boots as ardently as they sought freedom from England’s monarchy.
Washington routinely faced the possibility of mutiny and his soldiers packing it in, while supplies and care were in short supply from the rebel congress.
Early on, payment for disabled vets was left to the states and those who served rarely received any compensation.
If that was the beginning of American military service, certainly through wars that ranged from the 18th to the 19th Century, our commitment to our veterans would be galvanized – Right?
Well, sort of.
Many veterans seemed to understand that although they may have just fought foreign enemies abroad, that they’d have a different type of fight on their hands at home when it was time to collect on their benefits from the Federal government.
A domiciliary system was set earlier in the century and vets assistance was expanded after the war to include spouses, benefits and pensions. With homes for veterans in each state, those who served were granted medical treatment for all ailments.
During the first national Depression In 1894, unemployed men known as Coxey’s Army marched on D.C. to demand jobs repairing the nation’s infrastructure.
Organized by Ohio businessman and former Civil War veteran Jacob Coxey, a few hundred protesters began their march in Ohio, but by the time they reached the capitol, Coxey and other march leaders were not welcomed as heroes, they were arrested for stepping on the grass at the capitol.
To answer the need for care, Congress created the scandalous Veterans Bureau, which was abolished after just 9 years. In 1930 the Veterans Administration was established along with two related agencies to create veterans’ care.
By 1932, many former veterans were hammered by the Great Depression and found that a government pension was not enough. In that year, thousands of underserved and destitute veterans of the first World War marched on our nation’s capital and demanded the other half of a promised bonus. The first bonus had been assured in 1924 and the other half was vetoed by then President Herbert Hoover.
Known as the Bonus Army, the more than 40,000 impoverished vets camped out and marched on the capitol, only to be routed by the combination of Gen. Douglas McArthur’s troops and Gen. George Patton’s tanks.
The tent encampment, or “Hooverville” they had called home for weeks, was burned to the ground and destroyed by an active band of brothers.
Unfortunately, concerns with inadequate benefits for veterans seemed to continue and rear its ugly head almost every decade. From President Harry Truman accepting the resignation of the VA administration amid reports of “shoddy care” in 1945; the discovery of poor care and waste in 1955 to the hunger strike of Vietnam vet Ron Kovic, on which the movie “Born on the Fourth of July,” was based.
The VA remained st-ill-matic at almost every stop, even into the 1980’s when then President Ronald Regan elevated the VA to cabinet level and in doing so created today’s Department of Veterans Affairs.
Regardless of the era, veterans seem to catch hell in the US and 2014 was no different. Even after the White House announced an active investigation, douches at the VA continued to invent new ways to doctor the numbers.
In the end, the effort to deceive the veterans, their families and the government is profoundly douchey and more than enough of a reason to award our monthly prize to those shifty folks over at hospitals run by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
So this one goes out to you VA hospitals – you’re the Boom Bap Radio Douchey McDouche Bag Award winner for the month of May 2014. Now go and resurrect the dead or something – you record changing, fibbing ass, murderous list writing – douches!