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VA scandal hits close to home for Bend veteran

By Kandra Kent
Published On: May 23 2014 10:56:01 PM CDT
Updated On: May 24 2014 09:04:10 PM CDT

NewsChannel 21's Kandra Kent sits down with a Bend veteran frustrated by the VA's healthcare.

BEND, Ore. -

As President Obama and top administration officials vow to investigate a growing scandal emerging from the Department of Veterans Affairs, a Bend veteran is speaking out on the issue that hits too close to home.

"It's sad, like in a disgusting way," said the man, who didn't want to be identified, said Friday.  "I don't know if I can trust the VA to do right by me."

The VA and the Obama administration are under fire over the  scandal that wounded warriors may have died waiting for care and the crisis allegedly covered up by the agency.

The Bend veteran said his nightmare started two years ago, when he went to Bend's VA clinic for a check-up.

"At first, they weren't sure what was wrong, but they'd get back to me," he said. "A week, two weeks went by, and I was left with a message on my answering machine telling me I might have cancer."

He said he was scheduled for more appointments in the following weeks and months. He drove to Portland -- they lost his files. He said he had ultrasound over ultrasound, but no real answers.

"(The doctor) said he would confer with the other doctors I'd already seen and get back to me. I'm still waiting --; that was in August," he said.

He said he can only hope he doesn't have cancer and will eventually get hold of someone.

"When you call, you have to go through a 1-800 number," he said.

He's trying to stay positive, but worries about the future: "I'm probably going to have to buy private insurance."

The retired Army police officer said he no longer believes in the system, but wants to believe care will get better for other vets who've seen worse.

"Our care should be just as good as what Congress gets, what the president gets," the veteran said. "We are putting our lives on the line."

Veterans now are putting Obama on the line, and can only wait for his next move.

NewsChannel 21 has heard from a Bend woman who said the VA has been nothing but great for her over the years. The station is working to tell her story in coming days.

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