Daniel Greenberg's diatribe on his desire to abolish Veterans Administration hospitals (Op-Ed Page, Nov. 20) strikes me as classic irresponsible journalism. Such naive, misguided, and unresearched information does a disservice to nearly a million veterans, because it could influence the already limited budget of the VA.
I have been treated for wounds since World War II, and I will confidently put my intimate observations of VA hospitals up against Greenberg's questionable evidence of what he calls "the country's . . . worst hospital chain." He's wrong on dozens of prejudiced declarations in his column.
He's wrong when he writes that the VA system is "often shoddy." I've been at seven VA hospitals since 1944, and I haven't seen one that could be considered inferior.
He's wrong when he says VA hospitals are "dangerously understaffed." The thousands of dedicated doctors, nurses and other personnel that other patients and myself have seen at close range, have never allowed patient exposure to risk or negligence. Far from being a "backwater of medical service," as Greenberg states, I believe the exact opposite to be true. I defy him to make a careful inspection of the Jerry Pettis VA Hospital at Loma Linda, for example, and then report that it is other than an excellent model of care and efficiency.
Finally, Greenberg is not only wrong, but ridiculous, to profess that "abolition of the archaic hospital system" would easily be supplanted by other medical facilities and personnel that are "so abundant in almost all parts of the country that there's ample capacity to meet the needs of the veteran population."
To close the VA hospitals and transfer almost a million patients to private facilities, would create chaos. The resultant disorder and confusion would be universally detrimental. The newly overtaxed facilities would be far less capable of caring properly for either VA or private patients.