As though an agency accused of withholding treatment from American soldiers and then lying to hide it needs any more bad press, employees are now saying the Department of Veterans Affairs systematically punishes those who seek to expose bad behavior within its facilities nationwide.
New York nurse Valerie Riviello, for example, said she stepped in when she saw a sexual abuse victim had been restrained for seven straight hours. Despite her position as the head of her department, she said her superiors demoted her to a desk position with no patient contact and may still suspend her for 30 days without pay.
As a result, she said her fellow nurses are thinking twice before speaking out against patient mistreatment.
“The nurses are afraid to complain or report anything.”
Riviello has secured legal counsel in an effort to restore her spotless employee record at the facility. According to the firm representing her, however, there may be a delay in presenting the case as its attorneys are already handling about 50 similar complaints.