ATLANTA - Channel 2 Action News has confirmed with the Atlanta VA Medical Center that a clerical error led to nearly 250 veterans getting the wrong test results.
Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant started the work day Monday thinking the mistake affected just one patient at the Atlanta VA's Ft. McPherson clinic, but he later found out it ran much deeper.
Monday, the viewer who tipped Diamant off to the story told him about the major toll it's already taken.
"Cancer is something we don't play around with," said Army veteran Kerry Denison.
In April, a physical Denison got at the Department of Veterans Affairs' Ft. McPherson clinic included blood work and other tests to rule out things like colon cancer.
A couple weeks later, the VA sent him a letter with the bad news that the tests came back positive for warning signs.
"I was thinking, 'Oh, my God,' because I lost one of my parents to colon cancer," Denison said.
Then, a couple weeks later, he got a card that seemed to give him the all-clear, showing those same tests came back negative.
"I was thinking, 'Phew, that's a load off my shoulders,' because I've been staring down this colon cancer gun," Denison said.
not long after he cancelled a follow-up appointment, he got a third card -- a correction saying his tests were, in fact, positive.
Along with the third card was an admission that the VA inadvertently sent Denison another veteran’s negative test results.
"My heart probably skipped like eight or nine beats. I said, 'Oh, no, here I go again,'" Denison said.
That's when Denison took a closer look at the second card.
He found another soldier's name inside but hadn't noticed when he first opened it .
"I was focused on the three negatives
," he said.
Now he focused on the name of the veteran whose results got sent to him.
Late Monday afternoon the Department of Veterans Affairs sent Channel 2 Action News a statement saying:
“In May 2014, a clerical error occurred with the printing and mailing of test results for approximately 249 Veterans. As soon as the issue was identified, we sent out a letter apologizing for the incident and provided each individual with their correct test results.
“We have reached out to Mr. Denison and as soon as he is available we will work with him to continue the coordination of his care.
“We are sorry for any confusion and inconvenience that this may have caused our Veterans.