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Heads Need to Roll and Butts Need to Be Fired!': A Deceased Veteran's Mother Recounts VA Nightmare

Minneapolis VA facility

Jordan Buisman was a Marine Corps videographer who wanted to spend his life serving his country. But when he developed epilepsy, his military career was cut short. At just 24, he was forced to medically retire after suffering a series of seizures.

Minneapolis VA facility  Minneapolis VA facility (Photo credit: Shutterstock)

Buisman waited two weeks to see his primary care doctor at the St. Cloud, Minnesota Veterans Affairs Medical Center, only to be referred to a neurologist at the VA facility in Minneapolis. According to official records from that facility, Buisman asked the Minneapolis neurology clinic for an appointment Oct. 12, 2012.

A week later, he received a letter in the mail "confirming" his appointment on December 20, or 70 days from the time Buisman first requested treatment. The VA's own policy for treating patients at specialty clinics is only 14 days. But Buisman died Nov. 26, 2012 from what his death certificate called a "seizure disorder." Had the VA actually followed its 14-day policy, there is a good chance Buisman could still be alive today.

Following a review of Buisman's medical records, New York University Professor of Neurology and Epilepsy Center Director Dr. Orrin Devinsky, concluded, "It is my medical opinion ...that more rapid referral to a neurological would have prevented his death." Devinsky added there is "more than a 50% chance he would be alive now" had Buisman been treated "more expeditiously."

However, official medical records suggest the Minneapolis VA clinic made little, if any, attempt to treat Buisman's condition within the appropriate timeframe. In fact, Buisman's records say he called the clinic to cancel and reschedule his appointment on Nov. 30-- four days after he died. The clinic's medical records note, "Veteran cancelled MSP Neuro." A follow-up appointment was then scheduled for Jan. 17, 2013, according to records.

As KARE-TV reported, VA schedulers are supposed to enter appointment changes immediately, leaving several unanswered questions. Among them, Riley questions how her son could have canceled and then rescheduled his appointment four days after he died.

"Heads need to roll and butts need to be fired!" Riley said.

According to a spokesman for the Minneapolis VA facility, an internal investigation was never conducted. Following, KARE-TV's initial report, however, the VA Office of the Inspector General sent a team of investigators to Minnesota to find out exactly what happened and whether Buisman's untimely death could have been prevented.


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