Local veteran: VA system is 'broken'

CREATED May 21, 2014

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WATERTOWN -- Retired Army Specialist Chris Heintskill has a personal stake in the investigation surrounding the Veterans’ Affairs Administration.

A disabled veteran who spent 13 years fighting for our country, Heintskill went to a VA hospital in Madison a year ago after a health scare.

“I would have to go to the emergency room because the pain would be so bad,” Heintskill explained.

Instead of providing treatment options, the veteran maintains a number of doctors gave him the run-around.

"All I was told for seven months was, 'We can't do anything for you. We don't know what to do for you. We don't know what this is,’" he continued.

Heintskill’s wife begged him to see a private doctor, who diagnosed him with lupus--a painful autoimmune disease.

Physicians told him his condition could have been properly treated if caught early.

“[The VA system is] broke. It's corrupted," Heinstkill exclaimed.

The investigation into misconduct within the VA is growing.   A number of vets may have lost their lives because of delays just like this.

There are many questions yet to be answered.

In Chris Heintskill's mind, there's only one:  will other veterans face the same fate?

"We went out to defend this country by volunteering. We expect our country to take care of us," he said.

“The vets coming home probably have it worse than I do right now, and if they're not going to get their care, who's going to care for them?"

A spokesman from West Milwaukee’s Clement J. Zablocki V.A. Medical Center has yet to provide comment.