3 veterans allege St. Louis VA hospital delayed urgent care

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by Craig Cheatham / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on May 28, 2014 at 7:05 PM

Updated Thursday, May 29 at 6:57 PM

(KMOV.com) – Three veterans told News 4 the St. Louis VA delayed care for life threatening health problems.

Vietnam combat veteran Robert Shaw, who suffers from liver damage and two types of cancer, told News 4 the VA did not follow through on care his doctor promised for bone cancer.

“He said that they were going to attack this bone cancer with medicine, chemo, and radiation, whatever they needed to do. And I haven't heard anything since about it. So, that kind of scares me," Shaw said.

Mike DeGonia said his throat required surgery but he said the operation was delayed by six months even though his physician required it to be done immediately. DeGonia told News 4 the surgery was performed at St. Francois Hospital.

"I got a letter from St. Francis Hospital saying the VA had declined to pay for it even though they sent me there. I didn't pay any mind to it. I didn't even worry about it," DeGonia said.

Veteran Larry Beckler, 72, said his son is an Iraq War veteran who suffers severe head trauma and is depressed. Beckler told News 4 his son has avoided depending on the VA because the family is willing to pay for what they call “more responsive care outside the VA system.”

"He was a good soldier and a good son. Now, all of a sudden I have a young man who watches a lot of TV. I've lost a lot and he's lost a lot," Beckler said.

The St. Louis VA has not responded to News 4’s repeated requests for a comment on the accusations.

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