Extra Extra : Veterans affairs

VA pays out $200 million for nearly 1,000 veterans’ wrongful deaths

In the decade after 9/11, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs paid $200 million to nearly 1,000 families in wrongful death cases, according to VA data obtained by The Center for Investigative Reporting.

In that time, CIR found the agency made wrongful death payments to nearly 1,000 grieving families, ranging from decorated Iraq War veterans who shot or hanged themselves after being turned away from mental health treatment, to Vietnam veterans whose cancerous tumors were identified but allowed to grow, to missed diagnoses, botched surgeries and fatal neglect of elderly veterans.

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More Marines from Calif. base have died back home than in the war-torn Middle East

Since 2007, 28 Marines from the base in Twentynine Palms in southern San Bernardino County, Calif. have died in off-duty vehicle accidents, a rate higher than at other Marine Corps bases.

The Desert Sun examined each of these deaths during a yearlong investigation of non-hostile military fatalities in the desert. The paper analyzed thousands of pages of accident reports, autopsies and internal military reports, interviewed combat veterans, police and sheriff's deputies, scientists and doctors, and dozens of the many Marines and their families based at Twentynine Palms.

The story is part of a three-day series. Part two focuses on ...

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Oklahoma veteran center doctors have records, substance abuse problems

Veterans centers in Oklahoma routinely hire doctors and other licensed medical personnel with a record of problems to treat the state’s sickest, most vulnerable veterans.

Officials with the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs say money is the culprit, claiming it’s difficult to find suitable applicants with clean records to work at the state’s seven veterans centers.

Pentagon slow to identify remains of missing service members

The Pentagon spends about $100 million a year to find men like World War II POW Arthur “Bud” Kelder, following the ethos of “leave no man behind," ProPublica reports. Yet it solves surprisingly few cases, hobbled by overlapping bureaucracy and a stubborn refusal to seize the full potential of modern forensic science. Last year, the military identified just 60 service members out of the about 83,000 Americans missing from World War II, Korea and Vietnam, around 45,000 of whom are considered recoverable.

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How a recalled medical device killed a vet

"Despite the "urgent medical correction letter" posted at FDA.gov a trainer for B. Braun, the German manufacturer that produced the recalled morphine drip machine, came to the Seattle VA to teach nurses how to use the machine. According to the nurses, the trainer told them that a correction was coming soon for the device’s breakable plastic clip, but it was safe to use the machines until they were repaired."

Extra Extra Monday: Pilots addicted to automation, 911 operators lacking training, county officials send poor to unlicensed care facility

Service Members Left Vulnerable to Payday Loans | Deal Book--The New York Times
Nearly seven years since the Military Lending Act came into effect, government authorities say the law has gaps that threaten to leave hundreds of thousands of service members across the country vulnerable to potentially predatory loans.

Detained border crossers may find themselves sent to ‘the freezers’ | The Center for Investigative Reporting
According to interviews and court documents, many immigrants have been held for days in rooms kept at temperatures so low that men, women and children have developed illnesses associated with the cold, lack of sleep, overcrowding, and ...

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Extra Extra Monday: Campus safety, veterans' addictions and modern-day slaves

Campus crime reports not painting accurate picture of safety around USF, Univ. of Tampa, elsewhere | WSTP-Tampa Bay
Following a rash of violent crimes around the USF campus, WTSP’s investigative team digs into federal Clery Act reporting to expose the hidden dangers around many college campuses.  Most students will never know their off-campus apartments are often in the most dangerous parts of town – and most universities do little to prepare them for it.

VA’s opiate overload feeds veterans’ addictions, overdose deaths | Center for Investigative Reporting
Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the agency charged with helping veterans recover from ...

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Back Home: The enduring battles facing post-9/11 veterans

"In the 12 years since American troops first deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, more than 2.6 million veterans have returned home to a country largely unprepared to meet their needs. The government that sent them to war has failed on many levels to fulfill its obligations to these veterans as demanded by Congress and promised by both Republican and Democratic administrations, a News21 investigation has found."

Defense Department accounting errors leave some soldiers struggling to get by

A Reuters investigation has found that "pay errors in the military are widespread" and as many have found, including U.S. Army medic Shawn Aiken whose story Reuters has highlighted, "once mistakes are detected, getting them corrected - or just explained - can test even the most persistent soldiers."

"A review of individuals’ military pay records, government reports and other documents, along with interviews with dozens of current and former soldiers and other military personnel, confirms Aiken’s case is hardly isolated."