Need balance in news reporting
As a journalist I know the media’s mantra, “If it bleeds, it leads.” All the news about the Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center fits that category well. Certainly the bonus issue is paramount, the inability to serve the medical needs of our veterans in a timely fashion and the terrible consequences that may follow, are both critical problems that need to be addressed and corrected.
But is that the whole picture?
I, for one, can attest to the excellent and lifesaving care my husband Bill Duncan received at both the Roseburg and Portland facilities. When private medicine gave up on him, the VA picked up the banner and performed experimental surgery for melanoma in Portland. The VA dealt with his follow-ups, heart attacks and other serious illness until his death 30 years later.
At his bedside I sensed a component in the care that seemed over and above what I had experienced in other similar situations. Doctors and nurses treated the patient with greater compassion, perhaps recognizing each one as someone who had risked his or her life for our country.
Bill appreciated the care he received at both VA facilities and volunteered at the Roseburg VA for 21 years, eight of them in hospice. He called his 4,702 volunteer hours his payback time.
There are many more veterans who have received not just adequate but outstanding care at VA hospitals. Good journalism demands a balance, so why aren’t we hearing some of those stories, too?
Beyond the hype, I believe the bottom line in this explosive controversy is the dearth of doctors and medical professionals nationwide. A positive approach would be to encourage and financially help those who want to enter the medical field.