Borrowing a line from Shakespeare totally fits the dilemma that we have when dealing with the VA. When we get less than desirable treatment or when we have to deal with something which is dangerous or life-threatening, do we dare to complain?
Many who have made a complaint have been retaliated against. They have received even less care, have been told they are lying or that they are causing the problem. Entries are made in medical records which is difficult if not impossible to have removed. All of this allows the VA to put the blame on the patient or the caregiver and frees them from the necessity of dealing with the problem.
On the other hand, if we do not make a genuine complaint, we are left dealing with the fall-out of the lack of care. As usual, it is often the caregiver who deals with fall-out, which adds another layer of burden to a person who is already burdened beyond belief.
No matter how politely we make our complaint, no matter how much we follow protocol, no matter who we talk with and no matter how many people promise things will change, they rarely do for the better. The VA and the level of care appears to be in a downward spiral. As the current deployments come to an end, and our troops return, the pressure on the VA facilities will increase. In my opinion the level of care will decrease with the increase in patient load.
I have no answer for the issue of complaints, as it is a double edged sword. Every family must make a decision based on their circumstances and knowledge. No one should be penalized for complaining about lack of appropriate care, no one should be treated with disrespect because they do not fit the on-size-fits-all that the VA protocols are written for. What I do know is that this is an extremely unfair burden to place on both Veterans and those that care for them.