Local Vietnam Veteran Weighs In On VA Scandal

Veterans groups are calling for the ouster of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki. Some allege Shinseki knew about reported waits of 14 to 21 months to get a doctors appointment at a Phoenix VA Hospital. Hospital staff say 40 veterans died while waiting for care.

Shinseki has now called for a face-to-face audit of every VA clinic in the country, including those here in the east.

70-year-old Donald Quinn of Warsaw in Duplin County is a Vietnam veteran. He served as an army helicopter door gunner in 1966 and 1967.

Quinn says he has diabetes and has had three stents put in after a heart attack. He says he called the Fayetteville clinic in December to schedule a check-up and they told him he could go to Goldsboro since it's closer.

Quinn says the clinics in both Goldsboro and Fayetteville told him the wait time would be three months.

"Some {veterans} might be very afraid to come forward and I don't think I'm talking out of turn," says Quinn. "If you're dependent upon the VA for a medical rating, you might just be a little uneasy about going public with your complaints."

Jeff Melvin, public affairs officer at the Fayetteville clinic, says he can't comment on patient cases because of privacy laws. Melvin did say the VA policy is to try and book appointments within 14 days, though it can't always happen. Melvin also said their clinic is properly staffed.


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