I was saddened and dismayed to read of former Roseburg VA Healthcare System Director David Whitmer's early resignation from the VA. Although he was here in Roseburg for only a year he accomplished more than many previous directors.
I say this because of my personal contact with VA Directors over a 30-year period, both as a patient and in various veteran group positions. Whitmer made vast improvements and the morale of the wonderful caregivers who work in our local VA health care system was greatly improved. Because of Whitmer's leadership and intelligent management skills, the establishment of a future state retirement home was advanced and became a sure prospect in the future.
The physician that received disciplinary action certainly deserved such action. I had physicians and nurses come to me in tears saying he was ruining their careers. He should never have been placed in a supervisory position. I learned he was hostile to women in the workplace and was reported by a respected physician (who later became identified as a whistle-blower), saying this doctor accomplished incomplete and improper surgeries on countless veterans and thus placed their lives in jeopardy.
I admit I don't know all the facts, but I recognize poor leadership when I see it. In my opinion, this doctor should have been ridden out of town on a rail for harming my brother and sister veterans. Whitmer's resignation means the VA has lost one of the best leaders and health care managers that has been in a position to serve our nation's veterans. I have come to appreciate that the VA upper administration works in strange and mysterious ways. To Whitmer I say, "Thank you, sir, for all you did for us in Roseburg. God bless you. I wish you continuing success, and I wish you fair winds and following seas."