More Families Concerned About Care At Memphis VA Medical Center

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(Memphis) "He just kept saying how bad he felt. He said, 'They gonna kill me Helen.' I said, 'No they not,'" said Helen Wright.

Those words that still haunt her.

She says her husband predicted he wouldn't last long at the Memphis VA Medical Center.

Sixty-four-year old Vietnam Vet  Earl Wright Senior died August 7, 2013.

He had several ailments, but his family says  his dialysis treatment at the VA was the beginning of the end.

"I walked into the dialysis lab, no nurses could be found," said Helen.

She says instead of being monitored by staff, her husband was often on the dialysis machine without supervision.

One time, he passed out.

In August, she says he was given two antibiotics and things quickly went wrong.

He died a day later.

Shortly after, an Office of Inspector General's report revealed three veterans  died at the Memphis VA over the last year after receiving the wrong medication,  not being monitored and left waiting for treatment.

Earl Wright's daughter, Sedaria Williams, says she believes it.

"I believe it wholeheartedly.  Everything those patients went through, my dad went through the same thing," says Williams.

Now Congress wants answers from the Memphis VA.

The hospital has refused to sit down with us for an interview, instead saying, like they did last month, they have taken action to correct issues contributing to the three deaths including monitoring patients and training staff.

Former  VA Director James Robinson, was in charge when the first death happened, but not the last two.

He says the VA took immediate action to address mistakes and provide a safe environment.

He told WREG, "My dad was a veteran. I took the job personally and always sought to improve the care we provided to those who served."

A Congressional Committee wants to know why problems continued.

U.S. Congressman Steve Cohen of Memphis says the investigation will answer a lot of questions.

"It can only be good. It can show that either improvements have been made or if more need to be made, they will be made. I can see nothing but good that comes out of it for veterans," says Cohen.

The Wrights say they want a thorough investigation of what's going on at the VA so what happened to their loved one doesn't have the same ending for other vets.


  • Jim Donahue

    As A Regular patient of the Memphis VA, one statement I hear from the staff is that they do not have the funding to give the care that is needed to those who served their country. Yet our government has the $$$ to bail out banks who made bad loans and Car companies who make bad cars and give bad service. Wake up Congress, Take care of those who risked their life to save yours.

  • Thomas H. Evans

    Jim, great comment, but as a Veteran I will never go to the VA Hospital for anything; way too many horror stories, and not just in Memphis, even in DC.

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