Veterans remain concerned with medical care in Indianapolis

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INDIANAPOLIS – Veterans here in Indianapolis are still voicing their frustrations with care at the Roudebush VA Medical Center. Last week, the American Legion held a town hall meeting so vets could share their concerns. Now FOX59 is checking back in to see if some of those patients who spoke up have gotten the help they wanted.

Staff at the Roudebush VA Medical Center said they are trying to be responsive to all veterans who came up with issues at that meeting.

Joyce Richardson was one of them. She talked to us on May 19, worried and frustrated about delays in getting her prescriptions. She met with VA staff that night and hoped to get her medicines soon. Still, nine days later, Richardson said her situation hasn’t changed.

“Nothing has basically changed, nothing. Prescriptions are still not…I don’t have them,” she said.

Richardson said she’s tired of the stress. A private doctor prescribed her medication for an allergic reaction to antibiotics. She said it’s been filled at the VA four times before with no problems until now. VA policy requires that she see a physician there who can sign off on the medications.

She said the hospital canceled her May appointment, and the next time she can be seen is July 8. Her allergist wrote a note to the VA Medical Center saying it could create a “life-threatening situation” if she doesn’t get her medication.

“You people have put me in a merry-go-round situation, and it’s dealing with my life,” said Richardson.

Rusty Johnson was at the town hall last Monday, too.

“For the past 15 years I had gauze coming out of my chest. The past two years, I had blue gauze coming out of my chest,” said Johnson on May 19.

He claims the VA left gauze in his chest because of a surgical error. Johnson wants it out, and he finally got a meeting scheduled with his doctor and the deputy director of the VA Medical Center in Indianapolis. Johnson said VA staff told him they will decide then if they’ll allow him to see a civilian doctor so he can seek an additional opinion, but he said the department was sluggish in setting up the meeting.

“There’s always somebody worse off than us, and they may not be able to speak for themselves,” said Johnson.

Richardson said this isn’t what she bargained for.

“I will do whatever steps that it has to be taken to make sure that I get whatever’s got to be done as far as I’m concerned and pray that another veteran doesn’t have to go through this,” said Richardson.

FOX59 reached out to staff at the Roudebush VA Medical Center Wednesday afternoon regarding Joyce Richardson’s case. They told us a patient advocate had been playing phone tag with Richardson, and they hope to work out the issues between her doctors and prescriptions starting on Thursday morning.

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