Congress

Death of Washington state veteran prompts call for VA investigation

Washington state Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler on Monday called for a federal investigation after learning that a veteran from southwestern Washington had died in December after his cancer treatment was delayed by three months. She’s shown here speaking with constituents at a job fair.
Washington state Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler on Monday called for a federal investigation after learning that a veteran from southwestern Washington had died in December after his cancer treatment was delayed by three months. She’s shown here speaking with constituents at a job fair. AP

Washington state Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler on Monday asked for a federal investigation when she discovered that a veteran from southwestern Washington had died in December after his cancer treatment was delayed by three months.

“The cancer appeared to have been a treatable diagnosis had he received timely care,” Herrera Beutler said in a letter to VA Secretary Robert McDonald.

The cancer appeared to have been a treatable diagnosis had he received timely care.

Washington state Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, in a letter Monday to VA Secretary Robert McDonald

In the letter, she asked McDonald for “a comprehensive internal investigation as soon as possible to determine how this happened” and to report the results to Congress.

The case involves John Weston, a 66-year-old veteran. Herrera Beutler said he was diagnosed with a walnut-sized tumor in his liver in July. She said he had switched his care from a VA facility in Seattle to another facility in Portland, and then was unable to get a timely appointment.

“When he was finally able to schedule an appointment in October, it was too late,” Herrera Beutler said. “Seven days before his scheduled appointment, the tumor had grown significantly and burst, spreading cancer through his body.”

Herrera Beutler requested the investigation after Weston’s case was publicized in The Chronicle, a local newspaper in Lewis County, Washington.

Rob Hotakainen: 202-383-6154, @HotakainenRob

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