Women Say Shoddy Care From VA Led To Husbands' Deaths

Image: Women Say Shoddy Care From VA Led To Husbands' Deaths

Thursday, 22 May 2014 03:54 PM

By Lisa Degnen

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The VA scandal continues to grow as a new report says three Phoenix women are charging that their husbands died while awaiting care from a local VA hospital.

A CBS News investigation into the Phoenix VA facility interviewed the women, who all said their veteran husbands died awaiting cancer care.

"You never get over it because the proof's right here of the lack of care. These people didn't care. He was a number," Cindy Bordeaux, whose husband Jerry died of liver cancer after waiting six months for treatment, told CBS.

The report quoted Debbie Valle, who said her husband, Jerry, waited two months for chemotherapy, but died of prostate cancer. And Debbie Allen told them her husband, Mel, died of bladder cancer after waiting six months for help.

There have been no formal links connecting the deaths of the three men to the amount of time they were required to wait for treatment, but the investigation into wait times at VA hospitals around the country and the subsequent hiding or changing of reports continues to grow.

CBS cites a memo it obtained written by a man who arranged appointments at a VA hospital in Wyoming. He describes being pressured from above to delay long-term appointments for veterans in order to "get off the bad boys list."

Then there was Gulf War vet Joseph Kramer, who had been told by a Florida VA hospital that he had a cyst on his brain, but had no follow-up treatments scheduled.

"Am I going to die?" he asked the network's reporter. "Is this treatable? Is this, I need to have an operation to take it out? What? I don't know. I have no idea."

A report posted on CNN's website Wednesday questioned why no one has been fired at the VA over the alleged abuses, despite President Obama's claims that he "will not stand for" any wrongdoing at the VA.

Obama is resisting calls to dump Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, saying there needs to be more time to review charges that, among other things, claim up to 40 veterans died waiting for care.

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