The Eugene Oregon Veterans Affairs center.
Ben served his country honorably, so it isn’t too much to ask that when he returns home and is diagnosed with a heart condition through the VA, he should receive the care he needs. Well, sadly his doctor seems to think that a vacation without referring him to another doctor while he is gone is the right answer. This doctor has also taken the workload of another doctor at his VA clinic which is why he is being given more time off. Understandable, but when asked if he could be referred to another doctor, or even a civilian doctor, they’ve heard nothing.
Ben was hit by an IED while serving in Afghanistan, and as a result, was diagnosed with PTSD, and other health related issues to his time served in combat.
Ben’s heart rate has been fluctuating at a rate that has his wife Amanda worried sick. She called the VA to which they replied with: “Take him to the ER.” She did just that. The ER ran an EKG and told them his heart wasn’t the issue, it was the medication the VA had him on. The doctor told them to contact their VA doctor and discuss the medication issue.
He was put on beta blockers, but when calling into the VA to ask for help (A medication they prescribed) they were told by a nurse to “take him off the medication.” There was no process of slowly having him lower dosage amount to ensure his body adapted accordingly, no. They were told to just take him off, so they did.
Ben felt his heart rate soar, even when sitting perfectly still. Again they called the VA to which the VA replied with “take him to the ER.” The ER has already told them it wasn’t an actual heart issue, but a medication issue causing his increased heart beats.
The nurse then told them to: “Slowly take him off the medication.” Well, that wasn’t what they were first told to do, without even seeing a nurse or a doctor might I add. So they put Ben back on his medication, and then slowly began lowering the dosage amount. No change. As of now, Ben’s heart rate still continues to jump to increased beats per minute, even when laying perfectly still. They have both been unable to go to work for fear of what could happen to Ben should his heart rate continue to increase while at work.
As it stands, their doctor is away on vacation for two weeks, and once he returns, will be taking another five days off. They have not been referred to any other doctor to handle this issue, but instead are being given garbled regurgitated information from their doctor through the nursing staff. At one point, the nurse they spoke with (whose conversation was recorded by Ben) got rude with them after Amanda had asked if he should take the medication or not being they risked driving an hour and a half to the VA ER which they deemed as not an emergency, or having to pay out of pocket again for a civilian ER visit. The nurses response was: “You can’t have it both ways”.
Peace health ER, the ER ben frequented when he got his EKG, told Ben that they have a practice of no longer contacting the VA on certain issues regarding medications being the wait time is too long and usually results in the issues not being addressed in a timely manner.
For now, Ben waits in hopes his doctor makes it back in time to fix this issue before he has a heart attack. Hurry up and wait, Ben. Hurry up and wait.