Investigation into medical misconduct

June 22, 2009 2:41:42 PM PDT
A South Jersey congressman wants to launch an investigation into the Philadelphia Veterans Hospital. "And instead of giving the best possible healthcare it seems like they're giving the worst possible healthcare."

Former Navy Seal Bill Brown from Mt. Laurel is on the warpath. He's outraged about reports of rampant surgery mistakes on prostate cancer patients at the Philadelphia V.A. One government commission says a cancer researcher from Penn unit was operating in the hospital from '02 to '08 without scrutiny, botching 92 of 116 cancer treatments and then allegedly covering it up.

"I'm outraged by it people were left to become sicker rather than healed at this hospital and it may be happening elsewhere in the country," said Congressman John Adler.

The common surgical procedure is known as brachytherapy is when a doctor implants dozens of radioactive seeds to attack cancer in the prostate. The probe reveals so far that of those 92 mismanaged cases 57 men got much less radiation than prescribed while 35 received excessive doses. In 2 dozen cases the doses were misplaced. Dr. Gary Kao was allegedly presiding over all the cases. Congressman Adler is calling for a full Capitol Hill probe.

"Patient after patient, veteran after veteran did not get the care he earned by putting on a uniform and serving our country so lots of people are part of the failure."

Al Bucchi, a Vietnam veteran, says service and care have fallen off at the VA. He was once treated in Philadelphia for throat cancer.

"1992 I was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx and had nothing but the utmost great care along with the University of Pennsylvania."

The cancer unit has been shut down at that location and at 2 other V.A. centers across the country as the official investigation goes forward. There is no evidence yet that any veteran actually lost his life because of the incompetence.

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