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Veteran's hospital delays treatment for South Carolina man

A 44-year-old Army veteran is finally receiving chemotherapy for a baseball-sized tumor almost a year after he initially complained to his doctor about his symptoms. The man is reportedly just one of as many as 7,000 veterans who has had a delay in their care or treatment.

The man, who began experiencing pain and rectal bleeding as far back as 2011, reportedly traveled to several South Carolina Veteran's Affairs clinics and hospitals seeking treatment, however, the VA kept telling him that he was suffering from hemorrhoids and would only prescribe pain medications. The man stated that one of the doctors that he saw several times mentioned a colonoscopy on more than one occasion, but there was never any follow-up.

Although the man was finally able to convince the doctor to schedule him for a colonoscopy, he was later informed that it would take several more months before his colonoscopy could be scheduled. Almost a year later, the colonoscopy was performed, and doctors found a cancerous tumor that was described as being the size of a baseball.

An internal document obtained by the news agency CNN reportedly shows that the deaths of at least 19 veterans have occurred simply because of missed diagnoses due to delays in obtaining a vital medical screening, such as a colonoscopy or endoscopy. The U.S. Department of Internal Affairs document also reportedly states that these veterans were part of a group of 82 veterans during a period between 2010 and 2011 that suffered or died from cancer due to a delay in diagnosis or treatment.

Those who have served their country may have eligibility for veterans' benefits. An experienced Texas attorney may be able to help a veteran apply for such benefits or appeal an unfavorable decision.

Source: CNN.com, "Veterans dying because of health care delays" Scott Bronstein, Nelli Black, and Drew Griffin, Jan. 30, 2014

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