News 12 at 6 o'clock / June 6, 2014
BEECH ISLAND, SC (WRDW) -- World War II veteran, Morris Lollar lost his wife just weeks ago. The 86 year-old took care of her during her long illness, and said delays in his own medical care may have cost him a chance to be with the love of his life in her final hours.
"I should not have left her. I should have stayed there with her that night," said Lollar fighting back tears. After 42 years of marriage, the veteran said not being physically able to be at his wife's bedside in her final hours is a tough pill to swallow.
"She was everything," said Lollar. He said he was coping with his own medical problems. Issues he said that were made worse by delays in his receiving a second knee replacement at Charlie Norwood VA Hospital. Lollar said a VA doctor told him they would not operate on him until he found the original doctor who performed the procedure years ago.
"He could have went to him directly himself," said Lollar. He said by the time the VA did find the original doctor, nearly a year had passed, and the material inside his original knee replacement had deteriorated so severely, that he said it could have killed him.
"They said I had tin poisoning," said Lollar. His delay in VA medical care is one of several we have reported on in recent months. On Friday, Congressman John Barrow met with veterans during a roundtable at his offices in Augusta to address those concerns.
"Our veterans have given us the best years of their lives. They made everything that we take for granted possible," said Barrow. He said he supports a proposal by some legislatures that would allow veterans to seek medical care outside the VA system, when and if it is necessary. Medical treatment that Lollar wishes he had received sooner, so he could have spent more time with his wife during her final days.