Retaliation comes quickly to whistleblowers who expose wrongdoing at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Those who have revealed potentially lethal lapses in health care say they have been ridiculed, transferred, demoted and sometimes fired by agency managers attempting to cover up wrongdoing and silence anyone who dares challenge their dangerous practices.
Oliver Mitchell was stripped of his duties, put on administrative leave and eventually separated from the agency shortly after he reported the purging of medical appointments to the inspector general.
Dr. Richard Krugman told a similar story of being isolated and eventually forced out of the agency after he complained about unsafe conditions and policies to OSC. He was fired in May 2012 after spending a year on administrative leave.
Dr. Jose Mathews lost his job as chief of psychiatry at a St. Louis VA facility after reporting other psychiatrists worked only a few hours a day.
Dr. Katherine Mitchell, director of the emergency department at the VA hospital in Phoenix, said she was put on administrative leave within days of reporting to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., that patients were jeopardized because of slow and inadequate care. She was later disciplined in writing.
Dr. Pamela Gray warned that patients were being overprescribed dangerous narcotics at the Hampton VA Medical Center in Virginia, and that their underlying medical conditions were left untreated.