2 employees of Durham VA hospital on leave following audit


There are two separate audits going on. One is a national audit of all VA hospitals. That got underway today.

The other is an audit of just the Durham VA after a whistleblower complained last week. That probe may start later this week.

Veterans who spoke to ABC11 said they weren't surprised by any of it.

The sign outside of the Durham VA makes a promise to veterans: You deserve the best health care, anywhere. Dewey McLeod agrees, but says her husband has gotten anything but that.

"My experience with the Durham VA has not been pleasant at all," said Dewey.

Over the past three years, McLeod's husband Vietnam and Korean War vet Lindel McLeod has been wasting away while the VA in Durham has been refusing procedures and pushing back appointments, including a referral to neurology in early January.

"Neurology at Durham VA cancelled it," said Dewey, "and they rescheduled it for January, but they canceled that. Also, he did not finally see someone in neurology until March but his consult was ordered Aug. 2013."

Scheduling issues like that have brought three other VA hospitals around the country under close scrutiny.

The department says that Tuesday an employee at the Durham VA blew the whistle on colleagues for what she called inappropriate scheduling.

Now, two workers are on administrative leave and the VA is investigating. However, for Dewey McLeod, whatever they find, there are problems.

"There is too much of a gap between the time they're being seen and the time their treatment is getting started," said Dewey.

McLeod worries about what that gap will mean for her husband, who she says could have a mass in his lung that hasn't been looked at by the VA since November.

"So, if the gap is going to be from November to May of this year, and perhaps it is malignant, how long can he last," asked Dewey.

The Durham VA told ABC11 that they expect the national audit to show they are, "Scheduling appropriately and providing timely access to care for patients."

It could take a couple months before we know what the auditors had to say.

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