The penis amputation of a Vietnam veteran has heaped more bad press on the already flailing VA in the wake of former Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki stepping down in disgrace on Friday (Fox News).
According to an ABC 6 report, Dayton, Ohio, veteran Bill Kessler received a faulty diagnosis, which led to delays that caused his cancerous lesions to spread.
By the time doctors made the appropriate diagnosis, it was determined that it was too late to save the body part.
“So they did a penectomy on me,” Kessler said.
Kessler noticed the first lump on his penis in early 2010. Concerned, he went to his primary doctor at the Dayton VA. The doctor told him it was “just a cyst,” and to not worry, but “keep an eye on it.”
So Kessler did keep an eye on it. “Well, then one lump turned into two lumps, and I started to complain and showed him, because I was starting to bleed,” he said.
From the ABC 6 report:
The veteran claims the doctor recommended a procedure, but told him all the scipts at the Dayton VA were broken, and had been sent out for repair. Kessler says the VA tried to outsource the procedure to other facilities, but kept canceling the appointment. And that’s when a third lump developed on his penis.
Close to a year after he first went to the VA for help with his problem, Kessler finally received the appropriate diagnosis — that the lesions were cancerous. He was referred to a surgeon in Cincinnati who took one look “and said that’s got to go now,” Kessler said.
Medical records for Bill Kessler confirm that “there was a delay in his diagnosis.” In the same paperwork, the VA pointed out that they “offered an apology,” but after suffering a penis amputation, Kessler finds no consolation in the words. “There’s so much bureaucracy and craziness that goes on … people that just don’t give a damn about the veterans.”
That’s a sentiment the public has started to agree with in the wake of a “secret waiting list” that led to the deaths of 40 veterans, who were stuck waiting for care from the VA. All the while, officials were “cooking the books” to make it look as if the wait times were shorter than they really were.
In the case of the Vietnam vet who suffered a penis amputation, what action do you think should be taken? Sound off in our comments section.
[Image via ABC 6, linked above]