OKLAHOMA CITY – A Verterans Affairs scandal has been making national news.
There are reports of long wait times and efforts to cover up delays when veterans seek medical care.
Oklahoma veterans say they have experience some of the same delays here.
Vietnam Vet Steve Hayes was 19 when he went to war.
“He was scared, he was afraid, but he would do anything for his country, right, wrong or indifferent, and I would do it again,” said Hayes.
Now, Hayes says he’s scared once again. This time he’s fighting for his own health, pleading with the VA to treat his illnesses.
“I saw things beyond what two eyes will allow us to see. It’s not a hospital of respect or honor for the vets. It’s just that, we are the problem to them,” said Hayes.
Hayes had C. difficile, a bacterial infection that can be fatal if untreated.
He was bleeding internally, and dropped thirty pounds in a month. Hayes says he called repeatedly for appointments.
He went to two appointments that the VA Center canceled when he arrived.
Hayes says he never saw his primary physician. he said the VA Center told him to go to the emergency room.
That trip to the ER saved his life, according to what the doctors told his wife Par Hayes.
“He said you were three or four days away from it being fatal,” Par Hayes said.
His infection is under control. Hayes now needs medical attention to address a loss of strength in his legs, but says the VA Hospital doesn’t have an opening for another four months.
“It’s just too much, and I just want the VA authority to start respecting us and helping us,” Hayes said.