It’s likely that you haven’t recently heard much about the infamous “bridge to nowhere.” Though the proposed Alaska bridge was a big campaign issue back in 2008, it has long since faded from the political vocabulary.
A recent article about the devastating effects of missed diagnosis on a Navy veteran brought back memories of the bridge. The vet stricken with cancer had words of advice for the new secretary of the US Department of Veterans Affairs: “It’s more important to take care of your veterans than it is to get approval for a bridge to nowhere.”
The Navy veteran had received VA treatment for arthritis in his back for four years; arthritis that turned out to be kidney cancer.
The all-too-real consequence of the missed diagnosis is disastrous. The vet says he is “Stage four. Nothing they can do for me.” From his hospital bed, he said all that’s left is to “Make me comfortable, you know, maybe give me some drugs that will make me live a little longer.”
He learned recently that the VA has turned down his claim for disability benefits due to his exposure to Agent Orange. “When you join the service it’s all, ‘we’re going to take care of you, we got your back,'” he said. “Come to find out you ain’t got nothing.”
He said he had been stationed on Guam and assigned to a classified electronic warfare unit during the Vietnam war, he said he worked near areas heavily sprayed with the toxic Agent Orange.
“I got extremely sick,” he remembers of those days. When he returned stateside, his medical records had been lost. “It was like it never happened.”
The Florida vet’s congressional representative said he’s trying to get the VA’s claim denial overturned.
Rep. Gus Bilirakis said, “It’s kind of equivalent to a medical malpractice claim against the VA and I think it’s warranted in this case. I think he was misdiagnosed.”
If you or a loved one has suffered injury due to medical malpractice at a VA facility, contact an attorney experienced in pursuit of justice in cases of medical negligence.