The Honorable Eric Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Washington D C
Dear Mr. Secretary:
I have spent the past week calming the fears and anxieties of Veterans here at the Dayton VA as a result of the recent news that they may have contracted a disease while receiving Dental Care at the VA. I do not anticipate this week being any less strenuous. I exhort them to be tested while encouraging them not to presuppose the outcome. More than any question I am asked is this one “Why didn’t they stop this Dentist from hurting us”? I do not share my opinion because I really don’t think they can handle my opinion on this matter.
I have written you many, many letters on the proudly arrogant contemptuous attitude exhibited by Guy Richardson towards America’s Veterans. It seems to pain him to share a room with us, at least that is my personal opinion. While there are certainly hundreds of good, caring and concerned employees on the center, the number of people who share his disdain for Veterans destroy the reputation of the people who are actually great health care providers.. Somehow, this “us against them” mentality desperately needs to be repaired. It is this attitude that permeates some members of the VA that has allowed Dr. Pemberton to practice Dentistry while violating every single protocol of safety without one single complaint being lodged against him by a single employee who worked with him on a daily basis. They watch him spread potential blood born pathogens to Veterans for 18 years and did not stop him. Service Chiefs, who are paid very good money and had the authority to save the lives of patients resigned themselves that there was nothing that could be done to stop him. I can’t help but wonder what their position would have been had one of their children been sitting in his dental chair. In short, some of these people simply don’t care about the American veterans wellbeing, period.
The article in last week’s Dayton Daily Newspaper cited Service Chiefs who claimed “There was nothing I could do and no way to stop this Dentist from infecting America’s Veterans”. This was to hide behind the myth that Federal employees are unmovable. This is untrue! So the implication was he just permitted him to spread potential death sentences on us. The article further cited the many employees who were well aware of this horrible threat to our health and did nothing to protect us from their peer. I repeat “us against them”. This Service Chief could have “detailed” Dr. Pemberton away from patient contact. He could have brought formal charges of misconduct against Dr. Pemberton. There are many things he could have done but he choose to do nothing. Where could he have gotten such permission to turn a blind eye to this abuse, because that is exactly what it has been.
Once a matter is brought to the attention of the Medical Center Director and he refuses to address the matter, only then could a Service Chief feel the impotence described in the newspaper article. I firmly believe that Guy Richardson knew about this a long time ago. As an African American Guy Richardson belongs to a type of Black men who think that ANY African American who has made the sacrifice to achieve a formal education deserves a pass for any infraction. He also believes that any African American who has not sacrificed to obtain a formal education is not worth speaking to. I am an African American without a formal education and I have been on the receiving end of his derisive contempt on more than one occasion. He can barley contain himself in my presence. His blank stares, continually looking at his watch as if I was getting on his last nerves reveals a level of intolerance that is evident in his daily activities. Of all the complaints I have listened to by staff and patients concerning Guy Richardson the most prevalent is the fact that he refuses to even acknowledge their presence when he walks around the Center. I have lost track of the number of people who have asked me “What is wrong with him, I spoke to him and he acted like he didn’t even hear me”. This trait combined with his propensity to hire, promote and surround himself with only African American women with nice figures has been his modus operandi on the Center.
Guy Richardson is completely unmoved by any pain or discomfort described to him concerning the welfare of our Veterans. This man is egotistical arrogance and big-headedness personified. I knew long ago that this would cause him great trouble and I have been proven prescient on this particular matter. Men like him, when caught, resort to the only escape door they perceive remains open: They lie! He is lying about the fact that he had no knowledge that Dr. Pemberton was violating safety protocols. He has held over 1400 meetings with the Service Chief and the Asst. Service Chief of the Dental Department. Claiming that his relationship with his Chief of staff was fractured preventing him from information is another lie. No good lie is successful without a little truth added to it.
Yes, their relationship was fractured but it was not “that” broken.
I suspect that he has also hidden from you the fact that Dr. Pemberton is an 81 year old openly gay man who has a history of flagrantly flirting with patients and staff is widely suspected to be HIV positive himself. I do know for fact that a few years ago Dr. Pemberton was very ill and told people he had cancer. This is a very common cover up for HIV sufferers when their T Cell Viral Load diminishes and they become deathly ill. Dr. Pemberton is also a Veteran who has been hospitalized at the Dayton VA. If I am correct about what is commonly reported it is a matter of record and Guy Richardson already knows it and has allowed Veterans to be exposed to these microorganisms. These additional facts, if corroborated, when combined with the current violations exacerbate this situation to atmospheric levels of increased concern.
I have not and I will not repeat these allegations to any person on this Medical Center. I do not see the profit in raising fear and concern. My goal is to help veterans not incense them and torture them with additional worry and pain.
I have written you over and over about the attitude of some of the people in authority here. Now, what I have feared has become a reality: Their neglect has hurt somebody. For me to believe Guy Richardson’s claim of ignorance of this malfeasance I would first have to accept that Bernie Madoff had no idea he was stealing people‘s money. I hold Guy Richardson 100% responsible for allowing this abuse to continue on his watch and it is my hope that you will do the same Sir.
February 14, 2010