Virginia veterans are speaking out about a long list of problems and the backlog of services at Veterans' Affairs hospitals. Dawn Blackhawk's son, David, suffered unexplained head trauma weeks ago, but doctors are not close to finding the cause, in part, due to red tape.
"He was getting the paperwork here, it took four weeks, from Charlottesville," says Blackhawk. "And we still haven't got all the paperwork."
She also complains of unsanitary conditions and poor communication between doctors. Army veteran Daniel Gay has debilitating pain that's gone untreated for months.
"I tried calling the VA and finally a message comes on, 'There's no one who can handle your problem. If you leave your phone number and a time, we'll contact you back,'" recounts Gay. He never received a call back.
He says his pensions, which pay for costly prescriptions are often delayed. State Veterans Affairs Commissioner Paul Galanti blames the federal bureaucracy's inaction, especially for the backlog.
Advocates also say merging the DoD and VA systems would eliminate redundancies that bog down the claims.