Shea Wilkes is an Army Veteran and a pioneer VA whistleblower who exposed secret waiting lists at VA hospitals in 2014, while he was a Local Recovery Coordinator at Overton Brooks VA Medical Center in Shreveport, Louisiana. The Office of Special Counsel substantiated his disclosures, but the Special Counsel later lambasted the VA Inspector General and the VA Office of Accountability Review for an obviously whitewashed investigation of the breakdowns in patient care.
While his disclosures sparked a national spotlight on the VA’s deadly neglect of veterans, Mr. Wilkes faced serious reprisal after blowing the whistle. Ten days after his disclosure to Congress and the VA Inspector General, he was placed under criminal investigation regarding his access to, and the source of the secret lists. He was also stripped of his duties, denied any new training, and steadily harassed in a hostile workplace environment.
With help from the VA Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection, Mr. Wilkes has developed a good professional relationship with the new hospital director, but he continues to experience significant retaliation and he has an active complaint at the Office of Special Counsel.
Following his disclosures, Mr. Wilkes co-founded the 50+ member “VA Truth Tellers” organization, one of the more effective whistleblower self-help groups currently running today.