Doctors: Roseburg VA
hospital denies patients
to boost ratings

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ROSEBURG — An 81-year-old veteran hobbled into the emergency room at the rural Veterans Affairs hospital here in December, malnourished and dehydrated, his skin flecked with ulcers and his ribs broken from a fall at home.

A doctor examining the veteran — a 20-year Air Force mechanic named Walter Savage who had been living alone — decided he was in no shape to care for himself and should be admitted to the hospital. A second doctor running the inpatient ward agreed.

But the hospital administration said no.
Though there were plenty of empty beds, records show a nurse in charge of enforcing administration restrictions said Savage was not sick enough to qualify for admission to the hospital. He waited nine hours in the emergency room until, finally, he was sent home.

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