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Philadephia has a first-rate Veterans Hospital. "Socialized Medicine," you betcha. Gotta know any glitch is headed to a Talking Point.

Today's Headlines::: Facts repeated from a year old story -- June 11, 2008-- when Dr. Kao was shut down:

-- Doctor Gary D. Kao was Board Certified and practiced at other facilities in addition to V.H.A. He had one helluva time implanting nuclear "seeds" to the proper human organs
-- Nobody was killed
-- Minor overdose/underdose "seed" placements in brachytherapy for prostate treatment are surprisingly common
-- Philly's VHA had one out-of-spec monitoring machine. Damn a lowly maintenance mechanic...

GOPer-Built Delusions:

-- "Mistreating cancer patients"
-- "Botched cancer treatments"
-- "Bad medicine"
-- "Rogue cancer unit"

Funny, for Corporate Media-driven propaganda.

V.H.A. operates single-payer at the same quality as other hospital systems. Overall cost is 1/3 to 1/2 on a procedure-by-procedure basis.

Expect hundreds of sicko/paranoid retrospectives damning VHA. More below the fold:::

No one was killed. Nothing much happened, except to a couple dozen very unlucky patients back in 2005-2008. So this story is an appeal to paranoia. It is also getting legs -- front-paged at Yahoo News, AP, and blither-blather online NY Times.

A bad doctor and a single out-of-spec monitoring machine get the splash/rah-rah treatment.

Item dated June 11, 2008.

These GOPer suckas are desperate.

HERE is NY TIMES implying that one surgeon reflects the whole VHA system.

Peer review, a staple of every good hospital, in which colleagues examine one another’s work, did not exist in the unit. The V.A.’s radiation safety program; the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which regulates the use of all nuclear materials; and the Joint Commission, a group that accredited the hospital, all failed to intervene; either their inspections had been limited or they had not acted decisively upon finding problems.

Over all, the implant program lacked a "safety culture," the nuclear commission found. Dr. Kao and other members of his team, the commission said, were not properly supervised or trained in what constitutes a substandard implant and the need to report it. Dr. Kao declined to comment for this article.


But the fact is... that Federal investigators did discover the Kao mistakes and did rectify the situation.

VHA safety procedures worked about like what you would see at any hospital.

Problems with Kao's work were reported through the VHA internal systems. Of course, he re-wrote his surgical plans and was able to cover up a number of bad procedures. Any incompetent doctor could do the same thing, anywhere.

Thankfully, this guy is out of practice.

The NY Times piece follows the investigation:

...investigators found something more troubling: four instances where seeds were implanted in the wrong places. As more cases were examined, more mistakes were found.

"Every once in a while you’re going to have a medical event because the seed will migrate, but when you see more than one or two at one place, we’re like: ‘What’s going on? Is this a pervasive problem?’ " said Mr. Reynolds, the nuclear commission official.

The hospital suspended the brachytherapy program....

VHA and NRC's nuclear investigation team got the proper response. This was one of more than 50 situations investigated during 2008.

Originally posted to vets74 on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 07:06 AM PDT.


Veterans Hospital in Philly had a bad surgeon.

8%2 votes
4%1 votes
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56%13 votes

| 23 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (7+ / 0-)

    Pro-Lifers + Angry White Males + DSM IV P.D. Delusionals =EQ= The Base

    by vets74 on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 07:06:15 AM PDT

  •  TJ -- gotta rule by fear, eh ? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mariachi mama, Shaviv

    This guy Kao was a loser. He couldn't find his targets for nuclear cancer "seeds."

    But you gotta know this story wouldn't get a drop of attention, if it wasn't aimed at soshulized medicine.

    The story ended in June 11, 2008.

    Pro-Lifers + Angry White Males + DSM IV P.D. Delusionals =EQ= The Base

    by vets74 on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 07:14:20 AM PDT

    •  Well, and nuclear medicine. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Nucular technology is scary.

      No, really, I don't mind admitting that the idea of ionizing radiation kind of makes my skin crawl. I'm also aware that seed implants are usually done when there's quite a good reason to, not just for the lulz of it.

      Stay with me, Neda. Stay with me.

      by Shaviv on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 08:17:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm thinking seriously about starting a website (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vets74, Shaviv

    devoted to in-depth patient surveys of doctors, complete with number of times doctors have been reprimanded by state boards, or sued for malpractice. Maybe this already exists somewhere, but the last time I really thought about it was after, I think, a 60 minutes episode years ago bemoaning the fact that there's usually no way for patients to know how often a primary care physician or specialist has fucked something up, or how disgruntled their patients are about bad bedside manner, long waiting-room times, etc. Does anyone know if this stuff exists somewhere online? Even stuff like how willing doctor's staff are in going to bat on insurance filings and things of that nature.

    •  We use (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      steve davis

      ...with good results.

      Found us a first-rate allergist in NYC area. is a model, too.

      Pro-Lifers + Angry White Males + DSM IV P.D. Delusionals =EQ= The Base

      by vets74 on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 07:22:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  your state DHHS (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      iconoclastic cat, steve davis, vets74

      or whatever the analogue to Dept. of Health/Human Svcs, board of Licensing - these list disciplinary actions w.r.t. licensing in many states.

      Other locations where a doc may be reprimanded may be the facility or the certification board (Am. Board of whatever, Nat'l Board of whatever) but often these coincide with licensing disciplinary action, but not all the time.

      Hospitals often (as in you would have to be a very bad hospital not to) keep this kind of credentialing info on file for all of their doctors and AHP's. It often requires a subpoena to see it unless you're doing the credentials verification or if you're in the MSO of the hospital.

      tl;dr: Good luck doing much more than getting state licensure board disciplinary histories, and even that's not in all states. Not without a subpoena or employment in a medical staff office.

  •  Rogue mold at VHA facilities for wounded troops (0+ / 0-)

    Nice try, but we'll call bullshit once again on the GOP. The problem is that management of VA facilities has been handed over to private companies that don't give a shit about anything other than making a profit.

  •  I think you're in a difficult situation... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...when you minimize serious errors and cover-ups because you don't like how they could be used against your cause.  Glasnost, to use a dated term, is always best when it comes to good vs. bad medical practice--we can handle the other side's distortions.

    Al que no le guste el caldo, le dan dos tazas.

    by Rich in PA on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 07:39:13 AM PDT

    •  This is not a news story. Its history. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      houyhnhnm, Derfel

      Bad things happen every day at hospitals all over America.

      The point is that corporate media are replaying this story from 2008, cuz its got the fear words: cancer and malpractice.

      Dr. Kao owuld have been able to make these mistakes at most hospitals. He was bad and dishonest.

      Pro-Lifers + Angry White Males + DSM IV P.D. Delusionals =EQ= The Base

      by vets74 on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 07:48:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  He had no oversight at the Phila. VA hospital (0+ / 0-)

        This story is only incidentally about Kao.  It's about a failed process of oversight and review.  The idea that you'd want to minimize it into oblivion because it could be used against (y)our cause is not something I want to be part of.

        Al que no le guste el caldo, le dan dos tazas.

        by Rich in PA on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 08:05:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You're saying that this is news ??? (0+ / 0-)

          That a surgeon faking surgical reports is something you'd look for routinely ??? -- This is the first time I've seen something like this one.

          June 11, 2008.

          Then it was news. Not now.

          Pro-Lifers + Angry White Males + DSM IV P.D. Delusionals =EQ= The Base

          by vets74 on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 08:09:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  And it's not as if there is a lack of "adverse (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      incidents" in proprietary health care.

      Light is seen through a small hole.

      by houyhnhnm on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 07:50:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bart Simpson's analysis: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vets74, Shaviv

    "Kao, a bungler".

  •  More to the point (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vets74, Shaviv

    Nobody is seriously proposing anything remotely like the VHA system as "health care reform".  It's like we were all clamoring for apples and somebody dug up a story about some tomatoes having had e.coli on them.

    "People who have what they want are fond of telling people who haven't what they want that they really don't want it." Ogden Nash (on universal health care?)

    by Catte Nappe on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 08:17:21 AM PDT

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