Phoenix VA investigation: More families come forward - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Phoenix VA investigation: Senators promise action as more families come forward

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Pedro Valdez Pedro Valdez
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PHOENIX (KSAZ) -

More relatives are coming forward who believe their loved ones could be part of the group of veterans who died while waiting to see doctors at the Phoenix VA Health Care system.

A Congressional committee investigation found that as many as 40 veterans may have died while on waiting lists.

I spoke to the daughter of a Vietnam veteran who waited a year for an appointment -- an appointment that came too late.  Priscella Valdez tells us he died the day before he was supposed to see a VA doctor.

66-year-old Pedro Valdez spent about a year waiting to see a specialist for lung problems.

"So he battled for about eight or nine months.. back and forth with them until finally I went in with him and they gave him appointment for three months later," said Priscella.

His appointment was set for January 6, but he was already in a hospital.  His condition had become so bad that Priscella took him to the emergency room at Banner Good Samaritan Hospital.  He died January 7.

"How could he have gone so long without treatment and get that sick?  How could they allow him to get so sick?  I just don't understand.  This man gave up years of his life to fight for his country and remain loyal to the very end and they just let him die," she said.

The VA's office of Inspector General is now looking to the allegations that as many as 40 people died waiting for care at the Phoenix VA Health Care system.

"This issue is not going away," said Arizona Senator John McCain, who met with Phoenix VA management last week.  "I am absolutely committed to see that the investigation is thorough, that action is taken.  Apparently they did not give all the information that has since come to light."

Priscella hopes lawmakers hear the cries of the many families and veterans who've lost so much.

"This man here even though he is not here in person, he is not going to go away because he still has people here that love him and live through him and will find justice for him, if justice what is what needs to be found," she said.

Because of privacy laws, the VA typically doesn't comment on specific cases, but tells us they review every death.

Investigators with the VA office inspector general were in town this week, but it's not clear when their investigation will be complete.

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