Taylor: VA didn't do enough to help veteran who died in cab

Biloxi Sun HeraldNovember 13, 2010 

Rep. Gene Taylor said the Veteran Affairs Hospital in Biloxi, Miss., failed the "Is this the way you would want your dad treated?" test by releasing a reluctant veteran from the emergency room, only to have him die in the back seat of a cab in the predawn hours of Oct. 20.

"I think they did everything professionally that they had to do, and a little more," Taylor said, "but what they failed at, and I think they would tell you this, is that this is not the way they would have treated their dad and I think that's what these veterans deserve."

Taylor met with VA administrators Friday, after reading in the Sun Herald about the death of Air Force veteran David Charles Miller, 61. Miller had recently undergone extensive heart surgery at Keesler Air Force Base. He entered the VA emergency department at 12:15 a.m. Oct. 20 after futile attempts to see a VA doctor during office hours.

Miller was worried because an incision in his groin was bleeding. Taylor confirmed Miller wanted to be admitted to the hospital.

"The doctor on duty looked at him, assured him that he was not bleeding to death, that what he saw was not necessarily blood, but a mix of fluids and just enough blood to make it look like it, but it was mostly just bodily fluids," Taylor said.

"My observation is, the VA normally does wonderful work, and I know that there's at least one person in Picayune, and that person would be called a walking, living miracle because of their work. In this instance, they did more than they had to, but not as much as they could have.

"I think it turns out that the patient did not want to be discharged."

Read more of this story at SunHerald.com

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