Congressman demands answers after VA computer stops veteran’s prescription for brain injury

8 On Your Side

A Target 8 investigation recently revealed prescription problems at the VA hospital in Bay Pines.

Tom Barr, a 70-year-old Air Force veteran was admitted to Bill Young Medical Center after he suffered a traumatic brain injury four years ago.

RELATED: Veteran left in near vegetative state after computer at Bay Pines stops prescription, daughter says

His daughter and caregiver Brandye Jackson says he takes Methylphenidate or Ritalin to keep his brain firing at the right rate.

“His brain was so damaged that it just doesn’t have the ability, you know all the neurons aren’t firing,” said daughter Brandye Jackson.

Jackson says although the hospital received very specific instructions on how to care for her father that specifically mention his need for Methylphenidate, Barr’s prescription was stopped.

According to several sources, a computer stops all prescriptions for narcotics and controlled substances for veterans after seven days at a VA hospital.

“A computer shouldn’t have the control to drop something out of the system, it should be a doctor that has the control,” said Ms. Jackson.

Her father fell through the cracks. Barr’s physician was on vacation when his prescription was stopped.

“Unacceptable, that can’t happen,” said Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-Fl.) told News Channel 8. He plans to bring the matter to the attention of the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Bay Pines spokesman Jason Dangel said that upon admission, a patient will stop receiving medication from outpatient pharmacies. A hospital physician orders new prescriptions with a seven-day stop on controlled substances.

A computer stopped Tom Barr’s prescription and the VA missed it.

“Computers are fine but doctors should be making decisions case by case,” said Congressman Bilirakis.

Mr. Bilirakis says he will personally talk to the VA secretary about this mistake, how it affected Barr and how it may affect others.

“It’s something that has to be changed now,” said Jackson. “It can’t wait.”

Jackson said her father is only now beginning to come back.  If he had been on heart medication, he might now be dead, she added.

News Channel 8 has inquired as to whether anyone at Bay Pines will be held accountable for missing Mr. Barr’s medication issue.

Congressman Bilirakis said it is time for a re-evaluation of Medical Center Suzanne Klinker.

In January, the congressman demanded answers and a solution from Ms. Klinker after Target 8 revealed she had housed several veterans in a building for months with no heat or hot water.If you have a problem that you think should be investigated, call our Target 8 Helpline at 1 800 338-0808. Contact Steve Andrews at sandrews@wfla.com.

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