Dr. Katherine Mitchell, former co-director at the Phoenix VA emergency department, testified during a congressional hearing that she faced retaliation from her bosses for whistleblowing.

Mitchell said she feared for patients’ lives in some cases and kept a record of problems. She testified that in the process of recording hundreds of mistakes, approximately 20 percent of the ER nurses would retaliate by refusing to answer her questions and stop doing her orders for patients.

Today on America’s Newsroom, Mitchell told Martha MacCallum that names meant to stay confidential were leaked from one of the complaints she filed.

She said, “I knew there would be a good chance that my name would be leaked also. […] For that reason, I told my friends to give me the information that could not be traced back to them because I wanted to make myself the only target.”

Mitchell added, “We only have so many chances to make change and I didn’t want to lose other good employees because they would fall victims of retaliation.”  

MacCallum asked if any change will occur as a result of whistleblowers coming forward. Mitchell said that it depends on what the public and veteran reaction is.

“In general, all the other scandals in the VA, once the cameras turn off and politicians go back to their lives, everything just reverts back to the way it was,” she said. “I’m hoping that there will be enough understanding for the public to realize that this is an issue that […] has to be addressed now, otherwise our entire VA system is going to implode.”

Watch the interview above.