Shameful and disgusting…
The Veterans Administration has been under fire for months because of claims of incompetence, deliberate delays in treatments for vets and more.
The International Business Times reported a few months ago that a couple dozen workers were being fired because an estimated 100,000 veterans “did not receive timely access to health care.” There were accusations veterans died because of the delayed treatment.
The massive scandal led to the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki in 2014. And IB Times said the new secretary, Robert McDonald, estimated up to 1,000 more agency workers could face punishment.
Still, probably no individual case has been undecided as long as the one brought by a Denver man, Wayne Littrell, who was injured on duty and has been waiting for the VA to make a decision on his case.
For 69 years.
It was an alternative newspaper in Denver, Westword, that uncovered his case.
It reports it wasn’t one of those cases that slipped behind a file cabinet and was found decades later during remodeling.
“From time to time, Littrell gets a letter from the VA concerning his own requests for treatment and compensation for a terrible injury he suffered in the line of duty. ‘We are working on your claim,’ the letters begin,” according to the report.
“I hear from them quite often,” Littrell, who recently celebrated his 95th birthday, told the newspaper. “But they still haven’t settled that claim. I think they’re just waiting me out so they don’t have to do anything.”
The newspaper reported Littrell was a neuropsychiatric technician for the Navy in San Diego in 1945.
He worked with patients who were shell-shocked, including one named Harold, who’d been pushed into a foxhole by his twin moments before an explosion killed him.
“He caught his brother’s head in his arms,” Littrell recalls. “The only thing he could talk about was his brother.”
One day, during a scheduled time with Harold, he “went berserk,” Westword reported. “He attacked Littrell, hitting him several times in the face, breaking his jaw and knocking out six of his teeth.”
On his discharge the next year, it was determined his dental injuries were service-related and he would be allowed treatment but not a disability pension.
He moved to Denver, built a career in security and constantly struggled with partial dentures supplied by the VA.
His periodontal problems worsened over the years, and he’s now scheduled for oral surgery.
The report said he’s also been scheduled soon for an evaluation to determine if he’s entitled to disability compensation.
“I’d like to see them make some kind of compensation payment,” he told the paper. “The doctor tells me they could never put me back like before. They’re pulling teeth now. I can’t chew anything. It’s a real imposition, not to be able to put food in your mouth – except soups.”
He continued: “This is the first time in seventy years they want to talk about compensation. I’ll be very interested in what they have to say.”
Record time for VA delay: 69 years
Sun, 08 Mar 2015 00:56:12 GMT