April 9, 2014 Several of us remember that day… Leave a Comment / A Sacred Duty, Blog / By Paula Pedene I’m not sure how much you know about my story, but I can tell you this, it took an army of angels to help us stop them. As a Phoenix VA Whistleblower, one of our most triumphant yet saddest days was April 9, 2014. The House Veterans Affairs Oversight & Investigations Chairman posed a question during a VA hearing. Congressman Jeff Miller asked Dr. Thomas Lynch, assistant deputy secretary for health for clinical operations, “Have you heard that 40 veterans may have died while waiting for care at the Phoenix VA. Was that in any part of your look-back?” He answered, “No, Mr. Chairman, it was not.” That bombshell question and answer blew the VA wait-time scandal wide open. The press at the hearing knew something explosive had just hit, and they snapped photograph after photograph in a feverish frenzy. I was sitting in the library watching the hearing unfold. I stood up, wondering what the leadership team on the sixth floor was thinking. After all, this news was a blow to them. I asked to take a break and went outside as my phone rang. My insiders, reporters, and others were calling to verify the news. Some were calls of congratulation, hoping this exposure would help me get out of the basement. While others were mortified, Paula, where did they get that stat on 40 veterans? I had to tell them we had been tracking the deaths we could take off the secret waitlist at the Phoenix VA. It was one of many evidentiary files we were storing. And although I was happy the news was now public I also felt so sad. It was hard to believe any VA leader could let veterans linger and die like this. This story from CNN is one of the best we saw in exposing the corruption. This day of enlightenment came 16 months into my whistleblower ordeal. My book, A Sacred Duty, chronicles my war against whistleblower retaliation and how it helped expose a government scandal that outraged the nation. It’s a compelling tale, and in the end, the little guy wins. We hope you have a chance to read A Sacred Duty soon. Most people buy it on Amazon, but it is available by asking for it through Changing Hands Bookstores, Barnes and Noble, Target, and most of your favorite booksellers. Oh, and the paperback version is due out on Memorial Day! Get your copy here from Amazon.