Conditions

VA Staff Stole Morphine Meant for Dying Veterans, Says VA Nurse

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Vials of morphine were allegedly stolen by staff at the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center in Albany, N.Y., and replaced with water and saline, which was given to dying veterans.

“A nurse taking care of hospice patients over the past year had been diverting vials of morphine,” Valerie Riviello, a 28-year veteran nurse at the Albany VA, told The Daily Caller. “Those patients that were dying in hospice were not getting their intended pain medication.”

Riviello also claims that management at the Albany VA did not notice the theft for a year, but when management did become aware they didn't report it to their superiors in the VA system.

The Albany Stratton VA Medical Center refused to comment on the claims.

Riviello also recalled that she angered her bosses at the VA when she removed a sexual assault victim from bed restraints in November 2013.

“We wanted to get her out of the restraints," stated Riviello. "It became apparent that she was in pain. She needed to go to the bathroom and be bathed. The nursing team took her out and gave her the care she deserved. She was cooperative. The first time we got her out after seven hours."

"[My bosses] basically removed me from my position as nurse manager and gave me a special project to work on for eight hours at a time," added Riviello. "They prevented me from having any patient contact.”

This report is the latest of numerous reported abuses at several VA hospitals, some of which have been placing vets on secret waiting lists.

VA social worker Germaine Clarno told CBS News that the purpose of the secret lists was "to make numbers look better for [hospital executives and doctors'] own recognition and for bonuses."

Clarno said it was easier for VA bosses to claim short wait times and get their bonuses, than to explain why veterans had such long wait times.

Sources: CBS News and The Daily Caller

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