Every so often you run into an instance involving the Veterans Administration’s treatment of a veteran that is so despicable, so over the bloody top that you simply want to explode. Enter the case of Mr. McColl. Decorated combat veteran, Korean War. For over 50 years this man tried, with assistance, to get his benefits and was denied, denied, denied. Finally 4 years ago, he made national media when he was finally paid $100,000 of the back benefits due to him–they owed him much more. For the last four years the VBA has been “calculating” the remainder….yep, 4 years. And of course they didn’t finish in time.
Mr. McColl died at the Birmingham, AL recently after an agonizing nine day ordeal during the course of which the VA of course screwed up again apparently. Over 50 years and he died without ever being fully compensated. Of course no one will be held accountable. No one will lose their job or receive a reprimand. Mr. McColl spent his whole life waiting for the benefits owed him.
In an exam room at the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care Systems hospital in late May, Willie McCall, a decorated Army veteran who served in the Korean War, was dying.
His blood pressure had dropped to a dangerous low and his Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease had left McCall, who was unconscious, gasping for air. The 85-year-old’s upper body mostly rested in the lap of his nephew, Fred Porterfield, who had been caring for his uncle for the better part of five years. McCall’s lower body and legs were in the lap of Dawn Knapp, Porterfield’s business partner at F&D Auto Repair and one of the many people who helped care for McCall in his final days.
McCall was lying on his two caretakers because the room contained no bed. He had been rolled into the room in a wheelchair for an exam, but during it, his blood pressure had dipped and he began to slide out of the chair. Although there was a doctor and a nurse in the room at the time, it was Fred and Dawn who said they caught McCall and tried to arrange his frail, 95-pound body into a more comfortable position on the floor, in their laps.