Health

VA Finally Schedules Veteran's Appointment Two Years After His Death

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

The wife of a Massachusetts veteran received a letter from Veterans Affairs offering him an appointment last month, two years after he died from brain cancer.

Suzanne Chase said her husband Douglas was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2011 and died months later.

“It was addressed to my husband and I opened it,” she told CBS Boston regarding the letter. “I was in complete disbelief. It was 22 months too late. I kind of thought I was in the twilight zone when I opened this letter and read it.”

The letter asked that Doug, a Vietnam war veteran, respond promptly to the offer: “We are committed to providing primary care in a timely manner and would greatly appreciate a prompt response.”

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“I had been denied a funeral benefit because I had not used the VA,” she said. “Now you’re telling me, after he’s been dead for 22 months, he can have an appointment?”

Doug traveled from Acton to Boston to receive cancer treatment.

“It was so difficult for him to take the ambulance ride into Boston, we wanted to be closer.”

They attempted to transfer his care closer to home at the Veteran Affairs hospital in Bedford but never heard back. They waited four months. Doug died in August 2012.

She said Doug’s cancer was incurable, but other veterans who would benefit from care are probably falling through the cracks just like he did.

A VA director called Chase Monday to apologize and said an investigation would be opened on the matter.

“What I want to see is that veterans get treated better, get treated like human beings,” Chase told WDHD.

Sources: CBS Boston, WDHD