So over a week I cared for an older gentelman. He was a farmer and had fallen from his hay mow. Several times he expressed concern about what it was costing him to be in the hospital. He also shared stories with me about his days in the army during WWII. He had fought in Normandy on D-Day and beyond until captured and made a POW. I asked why if he was WWII vet he didn't go to the VA for care? He said that never occured to him but that he would like to look into it (he haden't see a doctor for any reason since 1945). I got on the phone and talked to the social worker at the VA. She said he wasn't in their system but if he was a vet to gather his paper work and send him down. Our doc talked to their doc and I made arrangment for an ambulance to transport him. I called his daughter and asked her to bring in all his documents from his army service. She arrived with a big brown envelope that I just handed to the paramedic as they were wheeling him out the door. I didn't look at the documents.
The next day I arrived at work just in time to see the old farmer being wheeled back into our ICU. My nurse manager was standing there and I asked what happend? Why wasn't he at the VA? Without saying a word she handed me the documents I had sent down with him. Stamped on the front it said, in big red letters "NOT ELLIGABLE FOR BENIFITS".
Turns out that while he had indeed served in WWII and fought in Normandy, he had been in the German army!
My hospital ended up having to eat the transportation cost both ways. My manager was none to pleased with me. Somehow it just never occured to me to ask the old farmer if it had been the US army he served in.