TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Coast Guard veteran Stacy Rush believes her refusal to get a COVID-19 booster shot might have something to do with an error on her medical record.
About 18 months ago, Rush said she experienced a bad reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine. Earlier this month, she went to the VA at Bay Pines for lab work and unexpectedly received notes about her progress.
She turned to page 5 and was shocked by what she found.
“History of post-traumatic stress syndrome,” the document said. “Military sexual trauma.”
Rush could not believe it.
“Suddenly I’m diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome from a military sexual trauma that I never had?” Rush said. “That never happened. I don’t know where it came from. I just want it off my record.”
Rush served in the Coast Guard in the 90s. She insists she was never sexually assaulted or harassed, and does not have PTSD from what she calls “three of the best years of” her life.
“I don’t understand. This isn’t right,” Rush said. “Who do I talk to? And everyone shrugs their shoulders. They don’t know how to help. So, I called you guys [8 On Your Side].”
8 On Your Side reached out to Bay Pines VA to inquire about her record. Soon after that, staff got in touch with Rush and guided her through the paperwork to remove the mistake.
Bay Pines Public Information Officer Medina Ayala-Lo said personnel walked her “through the process of amending her medical record and we will continue to work with her to address her concerns.”
Rush has her suspicions about what caused the issue. She claims last fall, she told a doctor at the VA that she didn’t want a COVID-19 booster after experiencing issues from the vaccine in 2021.
“And I don’t like being asked every time to take the shot,” Rush said. “I told her felt assaulted.”
Rush said the doctor might have read too much into her decision against getting the booster shot.
“She started going on and on asking me questions about post-traumatic stress syndrome and I was telling her no, and she kept bringing up the shot.” Rush recalled.
Ayala-Lo did not offer specifics about Rush’s case, or explain how a sexual assault that never happened ended up on her record.
“Our providers recommend treatment plans however, the ultimate decision about a Veteran’s health care falls to them,” Ayala-Lo said. “If a Veteran decides they do not wish to proceed with a recommended course of treatment, their provider will honor their choice.”
Now, Rush just wants the error removed as quickly and easily as it was added.
“What about all these women and men who’ve truly suffered from this who can’t get what they need?” Rush said. “And I don’t need this, don’t want it and can’t get it off my record.”