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VA Failed To Tell Veterans A Facility Was CRAWLING WITH BACTERIA

VA officials kept veterans in the dark about a bacteria contamination at the Brockton Veterans Affairs facility in Boston — even though it can cause a severe form of pneumonia with a mortality rate up to 30 percent.

After discovering that a former patient had been diagnosed with Legionnaire’s Disease in early October, VA officials took until Oct. 24 to test and discover any trace of the bacteria, The Enterprise reports. At that point, officials moved to close the pool, gym and locker room facilities in an attempt to clean up the mess. They did not notify any veterans about what was really happening.

“They should have told everybody immediately,” Richard Hand Jr., a Marine Corps veteran who uses the pool in Building 23, told The Enterprise. “Nobody said anything to anybody. My concern is, what if you felt sick?”

According to VA spokeswoman Pallas Wahl, the real reason why officials kept the truth from veterans was because the hospital “wanted to increase our measures and make sure that our processes were good and make sure that everything was running smoothly.”

This isn’t the first time Brockton has been plagued with deficient care and poor management. Back in August of 2014, Dr. Mohit Chopra gave an exclusive interview with the Boston Globe, revealing that veterans were receiving care that would have shocked and appalled doctors in Third World countries. When he tried to bring the issues to his superiors, Chopra was ignored and retaliated against.

According to Chopra, patients were neglected, ignored and drugged with incredibly strong antipsychotic medication. In one case, Chopra came across a veteran, Thomas P. Powers, who had been heavily drugged without seeing a psychiatrist in the seven years he had been at the hospital. Powers spent his days in a terrible state, trembling and unable to properly communicate as a result of the side effects of his medications. He soon died.

An independent federal agency, the Office of Special Counsel, supported Chopra’s allegations in a report discussing whistleblowing across the country after the agency conducted a thorough investigation. Yet incredibly, the Office of Special Counsel noted in its report that although the VA admits that it neglected patients and provided substandard care, it still continues to maintain that veterans’ rights were not violated in any way.

The Brockton VA director confirmed that the hospital has since stepped up testing procedures, but veterans are still upset and worried about being left in the dark about this most recent case of Legionnaire’s Disease.

“The people who use (Building 23) constantly should have been notified immediately,” said 71-year-old Al Allsopp. “It’s kind of a late response.”

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The Houthis, an Iranian-backed Shiite terrorist organization, seized the official presidential palace in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, on Tuesday. They then moved toward shelling the actual residence of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi — with the U.S.-backed president inside.

The latest round of fighting flared up in Sanaa on Monday, and had originally ended in a truce between the government and the rebels. Tuesday’s attack took place before the formal ceasefire agreement could be signed.

Yemeni military sources have characterized the move by the group as an attempted coup, though some say that the rebels are not interested in ousting the president outright.

The Houthis have resisted the fragile Yemeni government for decades. Instability following Arab Spring revolts in 2011 and the subsequent ousting of long-serving president Ali Abdullah Saleh gave the militia an opportunity to seriously threaten the existing balance of power. (RELATED: 7 Foreign News Stories You Missed in 2014)

Houthi forces have occupied parts of Sanaa since September, when an initial push for control ended in a tentative power-sharing agreement with the government. Since then, though, both sides have refused to govern.

Katherine Zimmerman, a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that Yemen’s rival factions have “an aversion to outright conflict,” preferring dramatic one-off attacks as a show of force and dominance. With Yemen at a standstill in negotiations over a draft constitution, the Houthis’ immediate key goal is to secure a foothold in a permanent national political arrangement. Last weekend, they kidnapped the president’s chief of staff, Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak, who had been overseeing the constitutional process.

Yemen is the Arab world’s poorest country, and its hard-to-govern desert interior has made it a haven for terrorists and militias, including al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. The Sunni group, whose eradication with U.S. support has been the Yemeni military’s main strategic focus, claimed responsibility last week for the terrorist attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo(RELATED: Jihadi Statements On Paris Attacks Highlight Rivalry)

Al-Qaida is also suspected in a suicide bombing which killed dozens in Sanaa on the same day as the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

Simon Henderson, a scholar at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told TheDCNF that the likeliest outcome of Tuesday’s violence will be “anarchy rather than a Houthi-led government,” so one early victim of the clashes “may be the legal and political framework whereby the U.S. is able to conduct drone strikes” against al-Qaida.

While funded and armed by Iran, the Houthis are not a direct tool of Iranian state policy like Lebanon’s Hezbollah. But their association with the Shiite country has emboldened al-Qaida’s own countervailing bids for power. The ongoing struggle against and between Shiite Houthi and Sunni al-Qaida insurgents has led to tens of thousands of deaths.

Despite Yemen’s instability and poverty, its location at the chokepoint of the Red Sea’s pirate-infested oil shipping lanes, and its long border with Saudi Arabia, make it a key strategic country in the region.

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Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.



 

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