Meet a veteran who says he is lucky to be alive after receiving his colon cancer diagnosis.
Columbia, SC (WLTX)- A veteran is speaking out about the quality of care he receive Columbia's veterans hospital.
A report released by the Department of Veteran Affairs months ago found that consultation delays led to six deaths at the Dorn VA Medical Center in Columbia. The report looked at records dating back to 1999.
"If I would have waited longer you never would have known what could have happened with my cancer, it could have spread to other areas," said the veteran News19 spoke with on Friday.
Records show he went to Dorn VA for a routine appointment and ended up getting other test done. In September of 2007 he was set to go back for a follow up appointment after his stool sample came back positive for colon cancer.
"I followed up and I waited and waited," he said.
According to his records, he was scheduled for an appointment on September 26, 2007, but it was rescheduled for October 30th. Fearing that would be too long of a wait, the veteran went to seek care from a private physician.
"I decided to go out on my own and within 15 days they took out 8 inches of my colon."
He sent Congressman Joe Wilson a letter worried about other veterans who don't have the option to seek care from a private physician.
"I did receive a letter from Mr. Brian Heckert, saying we are sorry for your delay in care."
The Medical Director in 2007 sent a letter back to the veteran stating in part, "It is not clear what the exact details were regarding the cancellation of your September 26, 2007 appointment; however, with the transition of new clerical staff, it appears there were scheduling difficulties."
Congressman Wilson and Senator Lindsey Graham met with leaders at the Dorn VA Medical Center to discuss a variety of different concerns when it comes to the healthcare of veterans.
Dorn was recently named in a report stating six veterans died as a result of consultation delays. Graham says no one should die in 2014 because of delayed care and the solution i simple.
"If you allow every veteran to vote with their feet you would up the VA's game," said Senator Graham.