Local News

May 14, 2014 6:45 PM by Janine Reyes

Veteran's Daughter says Broken System Made for Long Battle

CORPUS CHRISTI -- The recent discovery of cover-ups within the Veterans Administration led Senator John Cornyn (R - Texas) to talk at length about the allegations of deadly delays within the system.

"Dr. (Richard) Krugman believes that some of these veterans actually died as a result of the lack of cancer screening and addressing their symptoms," Cornyn said.

One local veteran's daughter says the problems with Veterans Affairs extend far beyond that. "He went to war, he did his part and he came back and he should have been compensated," said Beatrice Rodriguez.

Reyes Rodriguez Jr served in World War II under General Douglas MacArthur. He died after years of what his daughter describes as both neglect and deadly delays.

"My father almost died 3 times, just because he was dehydrated," Rodriguez said, three times, he was on his death bed in his ER, "I was already planning his funeral."

Today, Cornyn addressed that very lack of disregard for veterans like Rodriguez.

"Just like the scandals in Fort Collins, Colorado; Phoenix, Arizona; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and other cities, the ones in Austin, San Antonio, Harlingen and Waco - are evidence of a callous disregard for the health and well-being of America's heroes," Cornyn said.

"That's true, that's absolutely true," Rodriguez responded after hearing the quote.

She has letter after letter from the VA detailing "a great number of claims," and that, the letter says, "could lead to action on her claim being delayed."

She eventually took her father farther than she wanted. She had to leave him in a nursing facility for veterans north of Dallas, because she says the rules for local care did not allow him treatment.

"I could have kept him here in Corpus, I could have prevented a lot of things that happened to him because I could not be there out of town every single day," Rodriguez said.

When his health declined significantly there, she brought him back home.

"His body couldn't handle the travel anymore, he was already worn down from having to travel and I just wasn't going to do it to him anymore," Rodriguez said.

Although Rodriguez died December 10, 2013, Beatrice plans to continue her fight to try to fix the broken VA healthcare system.

Rodriguez wrote a letter to President Obama, addressing many problems with healthcare for her dad.

One issue that particularly troubles her is that he never received treatment for PTSD.

She says he had to live with that for 60 years because his complaints went ignored.

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