On April 9, The U.S. Veterans Hospice Committee attended a hearing titled “A Continued Assessment of Delays in VA Medical Care and Preventable Veterans Deaths.” The hearing was held by Congressman Jeff Miller, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and explored delays in veteran care at VA hospitals, as well as ways to stop preventable deaths.
Barry Coates, a retired military veteran and proud American testified at the hearing regarding a case that unfortunately is becoming all too familiar within the VA. “Mr. Coates was misdiagnosed for over a year and a half,” stated Executive Director Gerald Johnson
“A simple colonoscopy could have saved Mr. Coates’ life, but by the time the VA was able to administer the proper medical procedures to Mr. Coates, it was already too late.”
“Barry Coates could have been saved, and it’s a crime that the doctors in the VA weren’t able to properly diagnose his problem,” says Legislative Director Sean Ferritor. “I was blown away by his courage to testify in front of Congress considering what he has been through. This is a man that was misdiagnosed for a year and a half, when a simple colonoscopy could have saved his life,” continued Ferritor, “he had all the symptoms of a man struggling with cancer, but by the time the VA doctors finally administered the colonoscopy, Mr. Coates was diagnosed with stage-four colon cancer and given less than a year to live.”
Mr. Coates is a proud American, he served his country and deserved better than how he was treated by the VA. Mr. Coates is a family man with a wife and kids, and testified that what pains him the most now is that he won’t be able to play catch with his son, or watch his daughter walk down the aisle in matrimony. “It was a painful hearing, there were tears from the general public as well as Members of Congress,” Ferritor continued, “something has to be done to correct the way the VA hospitals care for our military veterans.”