VA WHISTLEBLOWER: Tells Horror Stories of Stolen Drugs and Tortured Vets

Published on July 13, 2014

Valerie Riviello is a nurse who worked at the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center  for 28 years and is blowing the whistle on the horrors that she saw there, including a veteran woman being strapped to her bed for hours, in violation of the VA rules. After challenging what she saw, she was removed from her nursing duties. Here is part of her story via The New York Post:

A female Navy veteran, a victim of sexual assault in the military, was locked in a two-point restraint — her right arm and left leg were strapped to the bedposts. She also had a belt tied around her waist to restrict her movement.

She had been restrained that morning because she was “disruptive and agitated.”

By 9 a.m., the veteran pleaded to be freed from the shackles. The nursing team and I made an assessment. We felt that she was ready to come out. She was calm and cooperative and taking her medication.

We reported our assessment to the attending physician, who did not agree. The doctor felt the patient was “unpredictable.” But we concluded she had no intent to harm herself or anyone else. She was in pain and wanted to use the bathroom — to bathe, wash her hair, brush her teeth.

I learned from my nursing staff that the same female veteran was readmitted in February and was kept in restraints for 49 consecutive hours over Presidents Day weekend. They said the doctors didn’t want to come in to evaluate the patient, as required, if she was released and had to be put back on restraints.

Since my removal, other nurse managers have told me what is going on in the hospice and geriatric units.

Last month, they found that a nurse had been diverting morphine. He was withdrawing the drug from vials and replacing it with water or some other unknown substance.

Read more: New York Post