The Good–The Bad–The Ugly…



I am not one to compliment the government and staff of Monroe County. However, if I’m to be fair, I must acknowledge my involvement with them, as it relates to their extraordinary handling of an issue that had the potential to break and injure a family.

The incredible willingness of the county staff to relentlessly confront a difficulty that was harming some residents, exhibited their dogged determination to ease the suffering of these taxpayers.

The brilliance and magnificence displayed by County Administrator Roman Gastesi and his incredible staff, represents a dedication and commitment to serve, which is not often found in government.

The diligent and conscientious effort put forth by Mr. Gastesi and his outstanding team, so that a solution might be found for  citizens dependent upon them for answer, demonstrates a resourcefulness and compassion that is of the highest caliber.

Please allow me to recognize the creative genius of Monroe County’s distinguished staff. These individuals played a critical role in designing a remedy for a problem, which initially appeared insurmountable. They never relented in their sterling resolve to serve the public.

The names of these exceptional staff members are as follows: Townsley Schwab, Mayte Santamaria, Joe Haberman, Matt Coyle, Wanda Reina, Jerry Smith and Christine Hurley.

I thank each one of you. You are consummate professionals.

Now, I turn my attention to another group of government staffers charged with providing medical care to our veterans at VA Hospitals. Although early in its investigation, I’m sickened by the apparent neglect, indifference and callousness rendered unto veterans at 26 specified facilities.

I know that at the Miami VA Hospital during a 3 year period, colonoscopy scopes and tubing were not sterilized after being used to examine a patient. These contaminated instruments were thrust into another unsuspecting patient, cloaked with the fecal matter from a prior examination.

How does something like this happen? Is that what we have to look forward to, from government run health-care?

Because of these unsanitary conditions, some veterans were infected with the AIDS and Hepatitis C virus. The VA was sued because of this defiled medical practice. The plaintiffs were awarded a multi-million dollar award from a judge because of the harm, and in some cases death, they suffered because of this neglect.

United States Navy surgeons saved my life. Doctors from the Veterans Administration put me back together. It’s exceedingly difficult for me to process why health care for veterans has been allowed to deteriorate. According to white house memos and whistleblowers, my Brothers and Sisters are being killed by a rouge and inhumane health care system.

It seems that we are quick to go to war and slow to treat those wounded and disabled by combat. A competent leader is cognizant that we’ve recently been involved in 3 extended conflicts in the middle east. Casualties from these wars need urgent and long-term care. Battlefield injuries, in all their grotesque expressions, are costly to treat.

Qualitatively attending to our veteran population is going to require an immediate uptick in competent doctors, nurse practitioners and clinicians. New hospitals, along with increasing the square footage of those already online, are long over-do. During my 40 years of  treatment by the Miami VA, I am not aware of any renovations that increased clinical accommodations for veterans.

Are we a compassionate and humane society? Do we value the sacrifices made by members of our Armed Forces? Or does the lip service proffered by our elected politicians, really represent our banality and shallowness.

In my heart, I sincerely believe that if the Monroe County Staff Employees previously identified were placed in supervisory positions at a VA facility, they would find a way to bring success and medical excellence into the lives of the veterans  they serve. They wouldn’t settle for anything less.

It distresses me to witness the president and his aides, refer to the VA scandal as though they were some innocent bystanders, who first heard about the systemic neglect of veterans from the 6 o’clock news.

As other areas of the presidency are unraveling, it appears that their falsehoods, incompetence and ineffectiveness are legion. Gross mismanagement is not exclusive to the VA. I pray that  the government health care system, being forced upon my countrymen, is gentler and more effective.

For the time being, I’ll just have to garner comfort from the insightful statements of President Obama and Secretary Shinseki, that they are: “Mad as Hell”.

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  7 Responses to “The Good–The Bad–The Ugly…”


    Shame on those that are quick to put our men and women in harms way, but act contemptuously towards them when they return home. How could anyone with a soul treat our vets this way?! Keep raising hell, John!


    i guess ‘mad as hell’ is fine for the teleprompter man who repeated ‘mad as hell’ after his secretary who actually looked somewhat catatonicy bored said ‘mad as hell’. i’m sure they heard it while watching the movie network and filed it away for future use when the time came but if ‘mad as hell’ meant anything to oblabla he would have taken proactive measures back in 2008 when some serious shortfalls were first recognized by him and his admin. so much for the ‘mad as hell’ postures in politics while our brothers and sisters suffer on.


    How about the stupid ruinous wars launched by American presidents, with plenty of flag-waving by plenty of Americans, including humans, although greedy corporations were seen to lead the charge? How many veterans would even need VA hospital and other services, if those – naw, stupid ruinous isn’t fair, those wars were, are, pure evil – wars had not been launched? What about support the troops by encouraging them to refuse to fight, hell, no way!, in evil American wars? Down Key West way, homeless veterans of evil American wars are treated like hell by city police. I say, let American presidents who launch evil American wars support the troops by being required to take their families with them to the front lines, to lead the charge. Same for anyone who supports those presidents.


    Sloan, thank you for the feedback. As president and commander-in-chief, along with all in the chain of command at the VA, immediate and purposeful actions must be taken to identify and correct any harm being perpetrated upon patients in that system.

    You would think that peace and prosperity were preferable to war. Ignoring the conditions that lead to armed conflicts, while exhibiting a propensity and willingness to indiscriminately kill, has advanced violent engagements across the globe.


    WANKAJM, the lack of focus, energy and determination to identify and solve the problems at the VA is alarming. It is as though they are disinterested and unattached.

    I’m certain if their health-care needs were being met at a VA Hospital, a sense of urgency would be demonstrated in their words and actions.


      john it sure does seem like a ‘go outside and stop bleeding on the floor…your interupting my coffee break’ routine that is embedded in the va culture these days.
      top down has shown thier lack of concience and thier ability to dismiss our brothers and sisters in need thru fraud and deception.

      we stumble from one administration worse then the other and who knows what meets us next in 2016.
      yes if the health laws and all ‘laws’ for congress and the administration were the same as the ones we as citizens are forced to follow and if all ‘heads’ of departments such as the va and especially the president our ‘commander in _____’ were required to seek all medical care from the va i’m sure it would quickly become a shining beacon of the best of the best medical care under the sun.

      unfortunatly we do not live in a ‘fair’ world nor would hypocritical dc politicians support that ‘fair’ world if it ever came to a vote.


    We can discuss this until the end of time, and I don’t imagine that will change anything, although things probably would deteriorate further during our discussion, maybe a lot further. John, what you have raised are symptoms of something far deeper and, in my opinion, untreatable by human methods. It will take a Divine Intervention to bring about constructive change, so I pray for that, knowing from my own experience with Divine Interventions that, if initiated, they have a mind and will of their own and tend to diverge from human thinking, policies, protocols and methods.

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