Monday letters: VA incompetence is nothing new

06/16/2014 12:00 AM

06/13/2014 5:47 PM

Now that numerous deaths connected to VA medical centers have come to light, everyone is outraged. I have been dealing with VA incompetence for 45 years and have little confidence in anything President Obama or his government has to say.

In 1969, after I got out of the Marine Corps spending almost a year in the hospital from wounds received in Vietnam, I went to the VA with pneumonia. I was sent home with a bottle of antibiotics and almost died. When I saw my doctor again, he apologized, saying he should have hospitalized me.

In 1987, I went to the VA with extreme back pain and was sent home with muscle relaxers. I lost the feeling in my left leg from hip to toes, ending up partially paralyzed.

In 1999, I went to the VA in Augusta with a lump on my left thigh. My doctor told me to come back if it got worse . When I went to the emergency room, a doctor lanced it. I was sent to a surgeon for a biopsy but never got one because I didn’t have anyone to bring me back and forth for the operation.

I went outside the VA and learned that I had a deadly cancer. A large section of the top of my left thigh was removed. I fought the VA for a year trying to get it to pay the 20 percent that Medicare didn’t cover.

I taped a conversation with a VA veteran’s representative that contradicted everything I was told and sent it to Washington exposing the lies. I got a call from the administrator apologizing for the misunderstanding. I was reimbursed.

Gregory J. Topliff


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