12 On Your Side: Veteran: 'It would be cheaper for them if I die'

News 12 at 6 o'clock / September 3, 2013

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW)
"When I went in the military, when I came out they told me they were going to take care of me the rest of my life," says Hines.

He says he has never complained about the quality of care provided by the VA, but he says that changed four months ago. "I'm living but it's not anything pleasant or good about it," says Hines.

The 55-year old says during a medical procedure at the VA in Birmingham, Alabama doctors discovered he had early stages of liver cancer. One of several medical problems that requires him to take morphine, oxycodone and other pills to help fight the pain.

"It's terminal, eventually it's going to kill me," says Hines.

He believes his only chance to survive is having surgery to remove the cancer. "I want the original surgery they told me, I want it taken out and I want it out of my body," says Hines.

But Hines says VA doctors are calling for a less expensive, temporary fix that he says will not be enough. "It would be cheaper for them if I die," says Hines.

He fears the decision is all but a done deal. News12 reached out to VA officials in Birmingham and Augusta. Pete Scovill with public affairs says it will review Hines' care plan.

"We'll make sure that we have an opportunity to communicate with him what exactly is going on so that he at least understands what his options are to the best of our ability and to the best of his ability," says Scovill.

Meanwhile Hines says he just wants to get this all behind him.

"I would like to be out fishing enjoying the trees and the country. I want to go home to Mississippi where I'm originally from," says Hines. But he remains doubtful of ever seeing that day.

"I'm in my mid-50's, I'm never gonna see a liver," says Hines.

He says at the request of his oncologist, he has agreed to undergo the temporary procedure in an effort to halt or slow down the spread of the cancer but says long term he and his oncologist would like the VA to perform the original liver re-sectioning procedure.


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