Service Members Are Left in Dark on Health Errors

http://www.nytimes.com/

“I raised T. J. as a single mother on little income for 19 years, and kept him safe. They had him for nine days and sent him home to me in a box,” said Ms. Holmes, who called the report “garbage.”

“No one,” she added, “has really given me good answers about why.”

Tens of thousands of serious medical mistakes happen every year at American hospitals and clinics. While a handful of health care organizations have opted for broad disclosure amid calls for greater openness, most patients and their families still face significant obstacles if they try to find out what went wrong. But as Mr. Moore’s case illustrates, the nation’s 1.3 million active-duty service members are in a special bind, virtually powerless to hold accountable the health care system that treats them…

Tens of thousands?  Isn’t it more like hundreds of thousands?  Geez, even the New York Times can’t get their facts right.

Ms. Garner was 35 in 2007 when she saw a physician assistant at the Langley Air Force Base hospital three times for breast pain and other symptoms she feared might point to cancer. The physician assistant not only dismissed her fears as irrational, she said, but threatened to place a note in her file that could have damaged her career if she came back again.

Nine months later, Ms. Garner was able to switch her care to a Navy hospital. A doctor there speedily ordered a mammogram — and discovered Stage 2 invasive breast cancer. Her persistence, he told her, had saved her life. A double mastectomy and chemotherapy followed.

After she recovered in late 2009, Ms. Garner filed a complaint against the physician assistant, hoping, she said, to protect other patients. But while sympathetic, the hospital’s chief of medical services told her that she had not been mistreated. Not long afterward, the physician assistant was promoted…

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