Local Vet Speaks Out Against VA Hospital Scandal - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Local Vet Speaks Out Against VA Hospital Scandal

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FRUITLAND, Md. - Local veteran Stephen Recker of Fruitland, Maryland is just one of thousands outraged by how the Department of Veterans Affairs has handled military veterans needing medical care.

"I'm doing this for all veterans out there that are coming back and struggling to get their claims because this is absolutely ridiculous," he said.

Recker says the wait-list delays at VA hospitals are just one of many problems. A former marine, the 41-year-old says he had to wait three and a half years to receive assistance on claims that he filed.

"We should not have this problem with the technology that we have. I've heard an estimate as high as two million at one time filed for claims."

Stephen suffers from permanent nerve damage from his neck all the way down the left side of his arm, making it extremely difficult to find a job.

"Everybody said I was unemployable. I went around everywhere, tried to get a job, and I got the same excuse from everybody. If I slip and fall, being on the medication that I'm on, I might sue them. They couldn't take that risk," he said.  

After a long fight, he's finally on disability, but says it took way too long to get the help he needed. Now, he's advocating for other veterans like his uncle -- a Vietnam vet who was denied assistance and is now dying of brain cancer.

"If he got into the system, maybe they would have caught the cancer sooner. He's not going to live. It's too late," he said.

He's demanding the VA change its system. In the meantime, he's encouraging his fellow vets to hang on.

"If you're a veteran, don't give up!" he said.

Last week, President Obama addressed the issue saying he will not tolerate any misconduct at facilities that serve the nation's veterans. A system-wide investigation of the problem is reportedly underway. Lawmakers are calling for the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki. Obama says he will wait for the results of multiple investigations before taking any further action.

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