Vet’s wife worried he will die before he sees a VA doctor

Posted at 6:34 PM, May 29, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-29 18:42:29-04

The price of long appointment wait times at the VA is personal for Linda Faine.

“Costing me my husband, that's a price I don’t think I should have to pay, it’s not fair,” said Faine.

Her husband Rickey has been waiting 9 months for an appointment to see his primary care doctor at the Hampton VA.

The last visit was back in August.

“He said to see me again in three months and that he would send out a reminder, but I haven't heard anything since,” said Faine.

It was all part of the treatment plan the doctor came up with to deal with his many health issues including fibromyalgia, skin cancer, and his frequent bouts of bronchitis.

When one of those bronchitis episodes turned into pneumonia, Linda took Rickey to the closest ER she could find.

“The man couldn't breathe,” said Faine. “He's been my partner for 41 years, and I don’t want to lose him, especially for something that can be prevented.”

The couple tried yet again to get an appointment at the Hampton VA.

That was in the middle of May, but he won't be seen until June 30th.

“It makes you wonder, do we have a secret list here?” said Faine.

After hearing all the horror stories about veterans in Phoenix who died waiting for an appointment, Linda is worried her husband might be next.

“It scares me every day, every day, because I don’t know if I’m going to wake up to him not breathing,” said Faine.

Even though the VA is speeding up appointments after the scandal, their “Accelerating Access to Care” initiative is only targeting new veterans in the system.

Not those patients like Rickey, who have been around for years, and are still waiting.

“He did his duty, and now it’s time for the head of the VA to do his, step up and take care of these men,” said Faine.