On Your Side: Lawmakers want 'disciplinary action' following VA deaths

By: Jerome Collins Email
By: Jerome Collins Email

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Monday, Jan. 6, 2014

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW) -- Members of congress, other lawmakers and even one physician converged on Charlie Norwood VA Hospital.

They were asking questions and looking for answers surrounding delays and deaths of three veterans at the facility due to a lack of proper care.

"We have an obligation to our veterans to give them the best care possible," Congressman John Barrow said.

Something that Barrow said did not happen for those veterans and others who waited months and months for colonoscopies and other medical procedures.

"When you start talking about a backlog that's hundreds of veterans in numbers, something's not working right. Somebody did not catch it," said Jeff Miller, Florida Representative and Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

Miller led the group through the facility as part of an executive level briefing. A first step in learning what led to the problems.

"I know the director here has apologized for the deaths and injuries that have occurred. That was an appropriate thing," Miller said.

But last month Norwood Director Robert Hamilton stopped just short of holding specific individuals responsible for the deaths and delays.

"That's one thing the VA is not very good at and that's holding people accountable. They will move people around they won't fire people they won't discipline people," Miller said.

He says it had to be a management issue and however many are responsible they will be held accountable.

"Our goal here is to make sure what happened here never happens again," Barrow said.

Lawmakers say Monday's visit was the first in a series of inquires that will be conducted to determine those responsible for the previous backlog of medical procedures and those three deaths.

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