AXELROD INTERVIEWS A DOCTOR WHO HAS BECOME A FEDERAL WHISTLEBLOWER AND SPEAKS WITH THE WIDOW OF A SERVICE MEMBER WHO DIED FROM THE COMBINED EFFECTS OF HIS MEDICATIONS
CBS News National Correspondent Jim Axelrod finds that returning veterans are dying from over medication in VA hospitals. Axelrod’s investigative report will be broadcast tonight, Sept. 19 on the CBS EVENING NEWS WITH SCOTT PELLEY (6:30-7:00 PM, ET) on the CBS Television Network.
CBS News obtained Veterans Affairs data showing the number of prescriptions written by VA doctors and nurse practitioners during the past 11 years. The number of patients treated by the VA is up 29 percent, but narcotics prescriptions are up 259 percent. A dozen VA physicians who have worked at 15 VA medical centers told CBS News that they have felt pressured by administrators to prescribe narcotics and that patients are not being properly monitored.
CBS News also gathered data from five of the states with the most veterans and found that they are dying of accidental narcotic overdoses at a 33 percent higher rate than non-Veterans. In tonight’s report, Axelrod speaks with Dr. Phyllis Hollenbeck, who has become a federal whistleblower, and another VA physician who asked to remain anonymous.
Axelrod also speaks with Heather McDonald, whose husband, Scott, a 35-year-old Army Specialist, died of overmedication after he returned home with chronic back pain from five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Patricia Shevlin is the Executive Producer of the CBS EVENING NEWS WITH SCOTT PELLEY.
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Press Contact: Lance Frank 212-975-5959 FrankL@cbsnews.com