Veterans speak out at rally in support of VA whistleblower

The wait continues Friday night to see whether the attorney for whistleblower Dr. Dale Klein will take legal action against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Klein is a doctor at the Poplar Bluff, Missouri, VA hospital. He has not been fired from that job, but his attorney says the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board did not extend his stay period. Attorney Natalie Khawam with the Whistleblower law firm said the VA has taken no corrective action, but — although Klein is still employed with the VA — he may still not be able to see patients.

Khawam is waiting for a report by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel to be released to see if they can take any legal action against the VA.

Veteran Gary Turner attempted to see Klein as a patient, but he was turned away.

"I went to the nurse’s station and requested to see Dr. Klein. The nurse said he’s not accepting patients," Turner said. He said he was then lied to about where Klein was.

Turner said he isn’t accepting their answers. "What are they trying to cover up?," he yelled to a crowd. That’s the question on many Americans’ minds.

Veterans and whistleblowers gathered across the street from the John J. Pershing VA Hospital Friday to rally in support Klein. The doctor joined the rally on his lunch break.

His attorney, Khawam, protects other VA whistleblowers as well. "We have the support of the Office of Special Counsel. We have the support of the MSPB. We have the support of the American people," she said. "Let’s put our money where our mouth is, and now support those who protect and fight for our veterans."

Veterans from around the country showed up for the rally. Klein said now they need the government to show up for them as well.

"Whistleblowers across the county are hopeful that the (executive order) will help us, but it has yet to be seen," Klein said.

The doctor was referring to an order given by President Donald Trump, which says he will establish an Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection. He has not yet named an executive director of that office.

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