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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Chacko Memo II

UPDATE: Please also check out my new book, The Definitive Dossier on PTSD in Whistleblowers, for only $3.95, in which I dedicate chapter four entirely to the exploits of Dr. Anna Chacko. 

I just received this from a source at the Pittsburgh VA. This, according to the source, is the other side of the story of the allegations that Dr. Chacko is making against the Pittsburgh VA. Here are the charges that Chacko laid out.
Also, here's the Pittsburgh Tribune story that started all this.

You be the judge about Dr Chacko’s claims of radiation overexposure.
The detailed story of the technetium/Thallium utilization for Cardiac Stress testing at the Pittsburgh VA.
VAPHS has switched to using Technetium for the cardiac stress tests, many years ago, from the regular utilization of Thallium, the stadard of care in many institution, even today. Technetium offers a slightly lower dose of radioactivity and faster clearance.
There have been occasional national and international shortages of technetium when specific nuclear reactors are down. VAPHS has a contingency plan to use Thallium, a widely utilized nuclear isotope for cardiac stress test, in case of Technetium shortages.
VAPHS has a specific contract with a licensed vendor to provide unit dose radioactive material on a regular basis to serve the veterans and hospital patient care needs. The vendor has to maintain a copy of the VAPHS current United States Nuclear regulatory (NRC) license to use specific radioactive material. All the details are spelled out in the contract, and have been in effect for several years. The vendor is NOT General Electric (GE).
On the day Dr Chacko describes, there was a shortage of technetium. Dr Chacko independently calls a “friend” in General Electric(GE) and requested the delivery of technitium directly to the nuclear medicine department at the VAPHS. A nuclear pharmacist from GE was tasked to fly to Cleveland to prepare the isotopes and drive them to Pittsburgh, as ordered.
The Unit doses were delivered to the VAPHS, at her request, followed by a bill to the VAPHS to pay General Electric for the radioisotope, and the urgent shipping cost. These isotopes were never used to inject veterans.
Here is what was wrong with this arrangement:
  1. The VAPHS has an exclusive contract with a vendor, and cannot deviate from the contract.
  2. The nuclear medicine staff had no idea what was in those isotope vials, and were not about to inject patients with isotopes that just showed up at the door, with no prior arrangements, or the safety of a contract for liability.
  3. None of these arrangements were cleared by the VA administration or the contracting office.
  4. This was under the watch of her friend Dr Rashmikant Shah (Bob Shah, as he might be known), who she had put in charge of Nuclear Medicine Department at that time, and who had agreed to using the Thallium instead of cancelling patients.
  5. GE did not have a copy of the VAPHS license to use radioisotope, and may have committed an illegal act by just sending the radioactive material to Pittsburgh at that time. (The NRC should look into this and similar practices that may be going on by this vendor who was striving to gain “special vendor status” with VAPHS under Dr. Chacko’s watch.
  6. When the contracting officer told Dr Chacko that this would be an unacceptable breach of contract, Dr Chacko threatened to sue the contracting officer for not going along with her plan.
  7. When the Adminitrative officer objected, she was subjected to retatalliation and spreading rumors of incompetency and harming patients.
  8. When the lead tech objected to breaking the contract, and injecting patients with unknown material delivered by an unknown vendor to us, for no “life threatening reason”, he too got harshly reprimanded and threatened to loose his job, by Dr Chacko. She also spread false accusations about his incompetence and inadequacy for the job (heis a licensed Nuclear medicine technologist with decades of experience in Nuclear medicine)
  9. To put all this into perspective, one should compare the radiation exposure of the one dose Thallium, one dose technetium and one CT scan. I will leave this to the radiologists and physicists to figure out, and see how can Dr Chacko, a nuclear medicine physician, have any credibility in her field.
  10. Dr Chacko preys on the ignorants and unsuspecting naïve, and there are too many of them out there.
  11. Dr Chacko’s complained loudly, and triggered a Medical Inspector General team’s visit who found no fault by the VAPHS in dealing with the shortages. They commended the VAPHS technical and administrative staff for the efforts to get to the bottom of Dr Chacko’s complaints, locally, and for doing the right thing.


Anonymous said...

"I just saw a purple alien on Michigan ave" Truth or Fiction? Just cause I wrote it doesn't make it true and that goes for Chacko diatribe as well as this memo provided by "a source at Pittsburgh VA"-
Should we believe it- or categorize under "listen, I said it's true so it must be true plus AC is threatening and lying" Anybody who understand the hubris in the VA knows that although AC also may be lying they are not babes- and by no means "honest or ethical".

I love

"10)Dr Chacko preys on the ignorants and unsuspecting naïve, and there are too many of them out there."

I agree that there are many unsuspecting naive people out there but unfortunately, its this type of people that VA officials are hoping will believe their "memo." They think that just by "saying" something it's gotta be true- like some religious document. Any VA insider knows that the VA administrators LIE EVEN UNDER OATH and that the regional counsels suborn perjury- so what's the difference.

Mike, you are from Chicago- how can you be that gullible and do you believe everything they write? Things are never what they seem, and this person from the VA feels that they need to sway "public opinion" and with that intent wrote this memo. It appears to be VA propaganda. I am no Chacko supporter- but I do know the VA- an they NEVER tell the truth.

The only way you can truly solve this issue is for AC and the VA administrators to get in front of a judge or jury with their paper trails with contemporaneous memos and emails- otherwise its all BS.

Again,the IG reports are all whitewashed and the IG staff reports to VA directors and he/she tells them what the "official story is going to be" after checking with facility director.

Some of us are not that naive.

Anonymous said...

Just a suggestion- your source should definitely contact the NRC
because of
"5)GE did not have a copy of the
VAPHS license to use radioisotope, and may have committed an illegal act by just sending the radioactive material to Pittsburgh at that time. (The NRC should look into this and similar practices that may be going on by this vendor who was striving to gain “special vendor status” with VAPHS under Dr. Chacko’s watch."

Let them put their butt on the line- otherwise its BS and they are taking you for a ride

mike volpe said...

This sounds like George Love. Only he loves, pardon the pun, judges this much.

I didn't say anyone should believe it but Chacko has been running around everywhere claiming that she's a whistleblower and there is another side, and I also published her memo. I don't know that anyone else will show that balance.

Anonymous said...

Chacko classifying herself as a "whistleblower" is agreeable weak. I am not a physicist but her charges that Thallium delivers too much radiation may be bogus- it would require "expert testimony" from both sides to figure this out, as well as, emails, shipping documents, protocol manuals, and billing records. I still think your source should definitely report illegal activity by GE to the NRC- let them investigate and levy fines.
Evil persists when good people do nothing.

Anonymous said...

I would love to see Chacko actually investigated as a whistleblower. She is NOT the vicitm. She is a one-woman nitemare for most everyone she comes in contact. She will be exposed as violating VAMC purchasing rules as well as being the manipulative psychopath that she has been so accurately labeled in this forum.

Plus, any radiopharmacy can dispense both Thallium and Technitium...if the VA's radiopharmacy ran out of one they can switch to the other without the need to have GE/Amersham get into something that their own NRC/Agreement State License forbids (shipping to a licensee for which they dont have a license on file, no documented delivery instructions on file for the destination, etc.). AND GE sells both Thallium as well as Technetium...if it was soooooo bad why would they sell both? Plus, how stupid is GE...they know that if they are not on contract they will not get paid, PERIOD.

Anonymous said...

It was not just the illegal out of contract purchase, but most importantly, and because of Dr Chacko's order from GE, the VAPHS license from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) could have been jeopordized or revoked, causing a halt in the diagnosis and treatment of the Veterans, and all resarch activities depending on radionucleotides. This would have been a disaster, which was prevented, and which Dr Chacko is now tooting as malfeasanceof the VA administration.