Veteran Fights For Right To Get Into Durham VA Hospital
Posted November 10, 1999 6:00 a.m. EST
RALEIGH — In World War II, 81-year-old Carley McLean fought many battles. But now, the Raleigh veteran is fighting the battle of his life against cancer and the United States government.
For months, McLean has been trying to get into the Extended Care and Rehabilitation Center at Durham Veterans Administration Hospital.
He is currently being treated at Raleigh Community Hospital, but his Medicare benefits are about to run out.
"It starts at about $500 a day, and I don't have that money," McLean said.
On October 14, McLean received a letter from the VA Hospital that said he was on a waiting list for admission. On November 5, he received a letter stating his admission was denied.
The letter from the VA Hospital said the center cannot provide the level of care McLean needs.
That is when McLean's son, Bart, started asking questions.
"I was told the reason for his rejection was that he was receiving chemotherapy," Bart said.
On November 8, Carley McLean received a third letter stating he was again on the waiting list.
"I would like to see some straight answers from the Veterans Hospital and see him placed in a good place, and I understand the VA Hospital is a good place," Bart said.
Dan Mueller, assistant director for the VA Hospital, wants to find a way to get McLean the help he requires.
"We are committed to getting him in here in a bed that's appropriate for his care and needs," Mueller said.
McLean says he does not have a lot of time to wait.
"I ain't got long to live anyway, a month or two or three at the very most."