Local veteran: 'They could have killed me'

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WICHITA, Kan. — The latest in an I-Team investigation into a secret waiting list at the Wichita VA hospital. The Dole VA Medical Center in Wichita has the highest rating in the VA system. But ever since KAKE first reported the list, veterans have been calling us about their stories of long waits to get patient care there.

Charles Oliver, a Wichita veteran, says he's experienced long waits for care at the Robert J. Dole Veterans Medical Center. Oliver says the long waits threatened his life.

Oliver says, "Six to eight weeks to get in at the VA, if you want to see your doctor and that's if they don't take a vacation or some personal time or this or that. It could be longer."

he Dole Medical Center in Wichita acknowledges having had a secret list with at least 365 names on it. Medical Director Francisco Vazquez told KAKE news exclusively that when he learned of it he had it stopped.

Oliver doesn't know if he was on that list or not because he does get home health care. But he says the VA misdiagnosed his condition after four separate trips to the VA emergency room. Oliver says he was told he just had a hemorrhoid.

Oliver says, "Come to find out it was an abscess on my colon and all the poison from that abscess they could have killed me from misdiagnosing me."

He got into another local hospital where he was operated on and is now recovering.

In other VA developments Kansas 4th District Representative Mike Pompeo says he's pressing the Dole VA Medical Center to get more information about the timeline on when the secondary list was discovered and who reported it.

Pompeo tells KAKE news, "We haven't been given clear answers about who reported in and when they reported it. Who had the list? Lots of unanswered questions about the timeline and the actors. And frankly I want to make sure there isn't another list out there that we haven't heard about yet. We didn't get the straight answer the first time and now I want to make sure that all of us in South Central Kansas have the right answers so we can report back to the veterans that we've done everything we can to make sure they're getting the care that they deserve and not being put on wait lists where their health can deteriorate."

And 1st District Representative Tim Huelskamp responds to a letter from Dole V-A Director Francisco Vazquez..

Huelskamp says, "While I am glad to receive some information from Director Vazquez, the letter is not only woefully incomplete, but inconsistent with another 'report' received only a few days AGO on Friday May, 30th. "


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