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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Those damned endoscopes

What's Mallard raving about today?

The VA, Endoscopes.

Given the number of times Mallard mentioned the scandal at the VA and Walter Reed during the Bush Administration, it's shocking (just shocking) to me that care at the VA is suddenly on his list of concerns, now that President Obama is in office.


NLC said...

For interested parties, here's the original report underlying the obscure "*AP" footnote in today's strip:
[Click here]

1] One feature worth noting is that the study was undertaken in response to "incidents" report in 2003-2006. Isn't it interesting that Tinsley neglected to mention this?

2] As horrible as it is if this report is accurate, it is still relevant to ask to what extent such practices were ecouraged --or indeed made necessary-- by the sacking of the funding VA system under the Bush administration.

3] One quibble: We all understand why Tinsley felt in necessary to claim that endscopes weren't being "cleaned" (the report cites deviations from "standard sterilization procedures) but this strip exemplifies perfectly Tinsley's ability to reduce serious problems like this to yet one more poop joke.

Anonymous said...

Come on, how about caring about the vets instead of spinning this to "protect" Obama! There's no criticism of Obama in this cartoon. This isn't an Obama or a Bush issue, it's a simple matter of decency. Of course it should have been brought up in the Chimp's administration, but are we supposed to ignore it now? Your refusal to see any wrong in Obama is ludicrous; he's repeating many of Bush's worst mistakes and getting a free pass.

dlauthor said...

Hey, Anonycoward: Put down the bottle and read NLC's comment about when this occurred again, and why.

(Actually, is it possible we have a second Anonycoward now? This one's more concern-trollish about Obama, rather than abusive and racist like the first one.)

NLC said...

Nice try "Anonymous", but let's be clear about.

The point is that this is Bush's mistake. You're right, of course, that this is a simple matter of decency (and, I think it's fair to point out, any reasonable reading of my note above will make clear that I understand this point). But for Tinsley to ignore the real, underlying cause of the problem (Bush's horrible treatment of Veterans) is, at the very least, dishonest.

rewinn said...

If electing Obama is what it takes to get the reichwing to suddenly care about our veterans, that's a sacrifice I'm prepared to make!

Toots McGee said...

VA Healthcare can be a political football if you want to make it into one, but I don't think you get a lot of traction trying to pin these types of failures (the "dirty endoscopes") on one administration or another. Take a look at the complete list of Inspector General reports addressing both specific practices and overall performance at individual VA Medical centers. You can roll that list back to previous years and read through the full reports for the last 20 years or so. These are "your tax dollars at work", both the provision of healthcare for our veterans and a system for monitoring the quality of care, taking corrective actions when needed and reporting the findings to congress and to you, since, again, you pay the bills. You will find these types of errors throughout, regardless of who was in office and what kind of budgeting there was.

I will fault Tinsley if he's going to point the finger of blame at VA Hospitals being staffed by "government employees" (no he didn't specifically "go there", but it's a short leap). He should think about this:

How much do you know about the healthcare you receive? If you go to a hospital for a procedure, do you review the sterilization procedures that are taken with the instrumentation that will be used on you? Do you review the qualifications of the staff that will be caring for you? Are you checking to assure that all the staff treating you have been adequately trained and that this training is thoroughly documented? Of course you don't, but you probably have an expectation that somebody is keeping tabs on these things. Since you're paying for the healthcare of veterans, you should have an expectation that somebody is keeping tabs on the facilities that treat them and they are. Now, if you think that hospitals (any hospitals) are just going to do everything perfectly in perpetuity without the benefit of any oversight and a performance improvement feedback loop, then you're delusional. Healthcare is a dirty business, but it is a business (even if the funding is public) and by trying to maximize productivity and minimize cost, (how can I put this delicately?) shit is gonna happen. Our best hope is that it gets reported and fixed before it hurts somebody.

rewinn said...

Toots: a good Libertarian will freely choose a health facility that he has inspected personally to ensure it meets, not the highest possible health standards, but a level of risk of death that the Libertarian is willing to assume in order to save money.

The Libertarian duck may choose, as an alternative to personally conducting unannounced site inspections, to hire a for-profit corporation to make such inspections for him, secure in the knowledge that if the private inspector delivers inferior inspections, the Libertarian will adjust the freely-chosen price of inspections downward, or switch to another inspection corporation.

Of course, to detect the level of care in the inspections, the Libertarian will hire an inspector of health care inspectors, at a freely-chosen price of course.

Such an inspector of health inspectors will, of course, require an additional level of inspection ... ad infinitum.

... this is why the free market in health care so reliably delivers quality!

Anonymous said...

What Toots and Rewinn said.

Of course, when you have 80 hours free each week, you probably can afford to do anal research (ha!) on your health-care provider.

Jazzbumpa said...

Anon -
Point out the Obama protection in NLC's post. Hmmm.

Toots -
We've been treating our vets like shit since WW 1 fer sure, probably a lot longer. None of which excuses the Bush administration's/Repugnicants uniquely super shitty treatment - remember when they cut the god-damned funding?

And bringing this up now, in the 6th month of the Obama admin, really tells you everything you need to know about Ducky's honesty and power of intellect.

What a god-damned tool.

Michael said...

Ignoring for the moment Tinsley's suspiciously-timed newfound concern for VA hospitals, I'm just glad that, for the 4th day in a row, there are no phallic chins in this one.

Patrick said...

Oddly enough, my exposure to the VA system has been pretty decent. It has some bad doctors and annoying delays, but it can be worked around.