You may have seen any one of a stream of news stories recently that reveal alleged “waiting lists” at Veterans Administration Hospitals across the country. Veterans in Dallas/Fort Worth and the Metroplex are included in the thousands of veterans who have been affected. The Dallas Morning News examined the issue in depth in a June 21, 2014 article.
As an example, the Dallas Morning News article tells the story of Michael Beaver, a 68-year-old Navy veteran who came to Dallas VA for the treatment of a broken big toe. Beaver says, “They told me a broken bone was not an emergency.” He didn’t receive treatment and a cast for about six weeks: “I was in big-time pain all that time.”
The Dallas Morning News article goes on to say that news of long delays for treatment at the Dallas VA Medical Center have been around for years, even prior to the current national scandal.
The Dallas Veterans hospital was included in a June report of problems at VA hospitals nationwide. A recent audit revealed that the Dallas VA had the “10th-longest wait list nationally for new patients seeking mental health care.” According to the audit, these veterans waited an average of 50 days for treatment.
Other Dallas VA patients say that the “news” of delays getting treatment is really nothing new. Marine veteran Tim Lee, 63, lost both of his legs in 1971 when he stepped on a land mine while serving in Vietnam. In 2002, he came to the Dallas VA for treatment of a kidney stone. He was given pain medication—and told that surgery would take at least four months. Rather than wait the four months, Lee decided to go to Baylor University Hospital and paid $10,000 for the surgery out of his pocket. He says about his experiences at the Dallas VA, “I’ve been living in the Dallas area since ’86, and I can tell you the VA hospital here in Dallas is a depressing place to be…his is a pattern: wear you down, get frustrated, throw up your hands, give in. It never ends.”