“I pray to God every day and night.” What Ernest Hudson is praying for is time.
Time to be able to overcome the Stage 4 Prostate Cancer he has been fighting for more than a year.
Stage 4 Prostate Cancer that he says went undiagnosed by his Hampton VA doctor.
“Everything was fine according to him.”
What Hudson says the doctor wasn't paying attention to was his rising PSA levels, an indicator that prostate cancer might be present.
A normal PSA level is between 0-4 - by 2013, Hudson's VA medical records show his PSA level hit 58!
“The lady was saying, ‘I wish we would have caught it in time.’ Well, I do too.”
Hudson is now waiting yet again for the VA, three months after completing his radiation treatments at nearby Riverside Hospital.
“I haven’t seen anybody about aftercare yet. I don’t know if it worked, not worked, is it killing me or what?” said Hudson. “You worry yourself to death, but it doesn’t matter because they are going to move at their own pace.”
NewsChannel 3 first started covering stories like Hudson's last year. Local veterans were struggling with long wait times for appointments.
Now in 2014, whistleblowers are coming forward from inside VA hospitals all over the country. Doctors say secret lists covered up long wait times, and schedulers saying they altered records to make cancelled appointments look like the veteran's fault.
The allegations hit home for Gulf War veteran Henry Smith because he says it happened to him at the Richmond VA.
“They stated I cancelled the appointment, when the doctor wasn’t even there!” said Smith. “If you do enough people like that, you can say you were reaching your numbers, doing what you are supposed to be doing when you’re not.”
These Hampton Roads vets want everyone to know the problems aren't just in Arizona or Texas.
“I want people to know we are not getting the proper care on time, that we are not being examined for ordinary diseases that other doctors would examine you for, and when they do, it’s too late,” said Hudson.
NewsChannel 3 contacted the Hampton VA Hospital, and got this statement:
As soon as we learn that a patient is dissatisfied with their care or a potential error has been made we perform a detailed clinical review in order to determine whether or not appropriate care was provided. There are times when corrective action is required and there are also times when we find that the root of the dissatisfaction is unclear or there has been inadequate communication between the patient and their VA team. We are constantly working to improve our services to the Veterans we serve and welcome any feedback that will help us in this effort.
Comments can be sent to the following email address: VHAHAMTelltheDirector@va.gov. Each email will be reviewed and responded to by Medical Center Leadership.