A scandal-embroiling the Department of Veterans Affairs is not a shock to one local veteran, who says heâ??s furious with a life-time of treatment heâ??s received.
The emotional scars left from the war are deep for Toledo resident Richard Kieper, and the physical ones are too. After being drafted into the Army at the age of 17, Kieper was sent to combat in the south pacific. His memories are hard to handle when he remembers those he watched perish in battle.
â??You donâ??t ever get over it,â?? said Kieper, as he fought back tears.
Days after his discharge in 1946, Kieper was referred by the Toledo V.A. to the V.A. hospital in Cleveland after complaining about blood clots in his leg. Kieper became concerned when he overheard a conversation between two doctors about the care they intended to deliver. He left the hospital and never returned.
Kieper opted to see local civilian doctors instead, but the problems persisted. The V.A. refused to pay his medical claims, because they said his problems were not â??service-connected.â?? By the age of 30, Kieper and his wife were going broke.
Kieper believes the blood clots and persistent kidney issues heâ??s experienced through his life are related to his service. He also claims the quality of care has been lackluster throughout the years and heâ??s been burdened by backlogs and rescheduled appointments on a regular basis.
He is now hoping to receive 100% disability (He is now at 80%) to make up some of the income he lost from the V.A.'s non-payment of medical claims.