By Wyatt Earp | March 28, 2009
I thought this must be an early April Fool’s joke: It’s not.
Erik Roberts, an Army sergeant who was wounded in Iraq, underwent his 13th surgery recently to save his right leg from amputation. Imagine his shock when he got a bill for $3,000 for his treatment.
“I just thought it was bull—- that I’m getting billed for being wounded in Iraq doing my job. I always put the mission first, and now that I was wounded in Iraq, they’re sending me bills,” he said.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has now decided to pay his bill, but only after prodding from a U.S. senator who got involved after CNN brought it to his attention.
There are times when CNN really disappoints me. I have to give credit where credit’s due here, though. They really stepped up for Sergeant Roberts.
He retired from the Army in October 2007, because of his war injuries, and enrolled in college last fall at Youngstown State University, majoring in finance and minoring in economics.
But in December, he says, a golf ball-sized lump appeared on his wounded leg. He says he went to a Veterans Affairs hospital and was told not to worry about it.
Anyone out there still want HillaryCare or another form of socialized medicine? This is what you would be dealing with if it is implemented.
A few days later, he says, he went to the emergency room after the lump flared up more. A doctor there, he says, told him that the leg was badly infected and that it might have to be amputated.
The Robertses say the VA did not approve of them going outside the system. Erik Roberts says he had no choice — it was have surgery or potentially lose his leg.
“I thought my leg was more important than the usual bureaucratic mess,” he said.
Thank God he ignored the VA. They seem to be completely incompetent.
His leg was saved. The $3,000 billed to Roberts wasn’t for the surgery itself. It’s a portion of the bill for six weeks of daily antibiotics to prevent the infection from coming back. His private insurance plan picked up the majority of the $90,000 in costs. (H/T – CNN)
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Our veterans deserve so much better. If CNN and Sen. Sherrod Brown (a Democrat from Ohio) hadn’t stepped in, who knows what Roberts would have to be dealing with?
The sad part is that for every Erik Roberts, there are probably hundreds of other faceless veterans who are also getting the shaft from the VA and the government. It’s a damned shame.