DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - A local Marine said he left the embattled Atlanta VA medical center after days of waiting for a necessary procedure.
Thompson went to the VA in DeKalb County on Friday for what he thought was a minor problem, but the tests he got hours later showed something much worse.
"It came back and showed the abscess in my colon and it was quite large and it was leaking into my pelvic area," Thompson said.
He said he would need a procedure to drain it or, worst-case scenario, surgery. When Thompson told doctors he had to leave to take his son home and would return shortly, he was told not to do so.
"They told me I was very foolish, that I could die at any time," Thompson said.
Thompson returned the following morning, got admitted and spent the next four days waiting. His daughter was there with him.
"They just kept telling us, ‘Tomorrow,’ and then they told us that they couldn't do it because it was Memorial Day and there was nobody there to do it," Thompson’s daughter, Robin, said.
Sick of waiting, Thompson left the VA Tuesday evening and despite having no insurance, went to the Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, where doctors did the procedure he needed within hours.
"It needed to be taken care of four days ago when they found it," Thompson said.
VA leaders declined to explain Thompson’s four-day wait.
"For patient privacy reasons, we cannot comment on specific clinical matters,” officials said. “We are also reviewing our internal processes to identify any opportunities to improve our services to veterans."