Vet loses battle with cancer, sisters vow to hold VA system accountable

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Jan. 25, 2016)-- Mike Bombard loved the idea of serving in the military so much that thirty years ago he signed up for the U.S. Army in between his junior and senior years of high school.

“He was just proud to be in the army,” said sister Linda Perry. “That was his dream, to be in the army.”

“He loved the regiment, he loved the career, he loved serving his country,” said Lisa Bruce, who grew up admiring her older brother’s commitment to serve.

Bombard served in Germany and Bosnia as well as in several posts across the United States before calling it a career after 24 years.

In 2012, Bombard started visiting the Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis complaining of headaches.

“This was like somebody was in my head pushing my eye out continuous 24/7,” Bombard told FOX59 months after learning that an untreated cancerous tumor that first took his eyesight would eventually take his life.

Bombard insisted on an outside MRI scan which confirmed the diagnosis his VA doctors overlooked.

Sunday night Bombard’s fight with cancer and the VA over what he called substandard treatment came to an end.

Hours after making funeral arrangements, Bombard’s sisters vowed to carry on his mission to hold the VA system accountable so that other families wouldn’t be faced with fatal results when confronting the bureaucracy of government health care.

“They expect to be taken care of because they’re putting their lives on the line themselves,” said Perry. “Why doesn’t our government do that for them in return everything that is needed for them and their care?”

Bombard’s terminal diagnosis, and resulting tort claim, got the attention of the Roudebush staff.

“The care he received in the last year from the VA was extraordinary, I will admit that,” said Perry, “but it was the time it took to get an MRI to find out a diagnosis to get things started.

“I think the system is overwhelmed.”

In emails after his story ran last summer, Bombard wrote, “My time has become shorter. I will continue to fight this. I will never give up and I will let the world know what the VA did to me. They have taken my life.”

Last summer, a VA spokesman wrote FOX59, “We work hard to provide the best healthcare appropriate to our Veterans needs every day of the year and regret any Veterans dissatisfaction with care they receive.”

Bombard’s tort claim against his doctors was denied as was his appeal.