Are long waits and delays in treatment at VA hospitals putting veterans at risk? A recent investigation conducted by CNN showed that just might be the case.
The investigation looked into the deaths of veterans at VA hospitals across the country, finding that a majority of them could have been prevented with timely diagnosis and treatment. According to the news source, the worst culprit is Williams Jennings Bryan Dorn Veterans Medical Center in Columbia, S.C., where an estimated 20 veterans passed away from cancer due to either a late diagnosis or a delay in simple, yet potentially life-saving, procedures.
"(Veterans) paid the ultimate price," Columbia-based physician Stephen Lloyd told the news source. "People that had appointments had their appointments canceled and rescheduled much later. … In some cases, that made an impact where they went into a later stage (of illness) and therefore lost the battle to live."
According to the report, the waiting list at Dorn included more than 3,800 patients by the end of 2011, even though funding was granted to the VA to treat those on the waiting list. Long waits and canceled appointments, however, are not only limited to the Dorn VA. The investigation also found that the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta, Ga., had a waiting list with more than 4,000 patients and three deaths attributed to delays in treatment.