Local widow speaks out about VA mismanagement, abuse

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by Mike Gooding, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on May 23, 2014 at 8:08 PM

GLOUCESTER COUNTY -- The widow of a Hampton Veterans Affairs patient can relate to all the stories in the news recently about problems at the VA. Her late husband, a Marine Corps veteran, experienced it himself.

"Our government should be ashamed, they really should," said Donna Hill of Saluda. 

Her husband, Wesley died in 2010 of brain cancer, while awaiting treatment. Hill says her husband was turned away at least one time by the Hampton VA emergency room. 

"It was going to be two months or more before they could see him, which in itself is ridiculous, knowing he had cancer; already had it and it was eating away at him," she said. 

Eventually Hill says the Hampton VA did admit Wesley, but they discharged him two days later.

"They felt like he was well enough to go home and in reality he was not," she said. "He should've never been sent home."

In the end, Hill had her husband transported the Sentara Hampton General Hospital, where he lasted five days. 

"He was going to die anyway, we knew that," she said. "but what I'm saying [is], he got such rough treatment in the process of just going back and forth. That was rough on him."

Hampton V.A. spokeswoman Sheila Bailey did not respond specifically about the Hill case, but in an e-mail to 13News Now said, "The experiences and feedback of our Veterans and their families are invaluable in improving the quality of service earned by our Nation's Veterans. We take every opportunity to use this feedback to create an environment conducive to the delivery of the accessible, high quality care, provided with compassion to the Veterans of Hampton Roads."  

Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) also weighed in. He did not speak about the Hill case either, but focused on the overall performance of the VA.

"It’s clear there are systemic issues at the Department of Veterans Affairs that need to be resolved immediately, as well as a lack of trust that needs to be restored," Kaine said.  "An aggressive Inspector General Investigation and national audit that are underway will hopefully lead to increased accountability and critical improvements across the VA system."

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