At least 19 veterans have died at VA hospitals because of delays in treatment, according to internal documents from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The documents, obtained by CNN, refer to veterans diagnosed with cancer between 2010 and 2011.
The 19 veterans are part of a larger group of at least 82 veterans who have died, are dying, or have been seriously injured because of delay in the treatment or diagnosis of colonoscopies and endoscopies.
10 of the 19 died in South Carolina or Georgia, while five died in VA facilities in Florida. Another 14 veterans or their family members in Florida were told that a delay in or not receiving a diagnosis or treatment had caused “adverse events,” according to the documents.
But it’s unclear if anyone involved at the VA has been reprimanded, demoted, or fired for the delays.
The Department of Veterans Affairs issued a statement in response to CNN’s investigation, with Dr. Robert Petzel, the Under Secretary for Health at the department of Veterans Affairs, noting that “as a result of the consult delay issue VA discovered at two of our medical centers, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) conducted a national review of consults across the system. We have redesigned the consult process to better monitor consult timeliness.”