#VAFail – Massachusetts VAs may have missed a shocking diagnosis
Massachusetts has found itself in the unfortunate spotlight of VA failure this week on multiple fronts. Early this week we learned that the VA’s Boston Regional Office has improperly assessed one in six traumatic brain injury (TBI) claims. TBI has become a defining injury of the wars in the Middle East, but so far the VA could be handling the treatment much better.
A Massachusetts veteran is facing his own misdiagnosis from the VA relating to his brain, but in this case, it’s even more shocking than that. Marine combat vet Brian Callahan visited several VA facilities for “debilitating seizures.” Callahan had seen his fair share of IED blasts in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Doctors at the VA “chalked up his symptoms to stress, migraines and vertigo.” After a few years, Callahan visited Massachusetts General Hospital for another opinion. During his visit, the doctor asked Callahan what the VA had said about the mass in his brain that showed on his MRI.
Callahan had never been told about the brain mass by VA doctors.
Callahan returned to the VA with Mass General’s findings and, according to him, the VA doctor told him the mass wasn’t life-threatening and they didn’t feel it necessary to inform him of its existence. The VA isn’t confirming or denying what was said and has stated multiple times that their records don’t indicate any findings of a mass on Callahan’s brain.
Whether they saw it and didn’t tell him, or didn’t see it at all, something went wrong somewhere. Callahan sustained a concussion from one of the IED blasts he experienced, and one would think special attention would have been paid to brain imaging after he presented with seizures.
Callahan is under treatment now from Mass General and his seizures have lessened. We will wait to see if any further investigation uncovers more information on Callahan’s experiences at the VA.