Veterans voice VA frustrations to Rep. Jolly

Seminole, Florida -- Local veterans frustrated with care at VA hospitals are finally being heard. Rep. David Jolly opened his office to veterans Tuesday morning saying this is a historic crisis that needs to be fixed.

"He was 68 when he passed," Joan Clayton said of her husband, Lloyd, who died after being diagnosed with Stage 4 renal cancer.

Joan Clayton still tears up when speaking about her husband of more than 40 years.

"It was everywhere in his body," Clayton said.

But she says what upsets her more is that, "Three weeks prior to me taking him to the ER, he got a clean bill of health."

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Clayton claims her husband is one of hundreds of veterans who have lost their lives because of the care at hospitals run by the Department of Veterans Affair.

"There's a very few times in course of American history and I'd ask you to point to another, can we say negligence of bureaucracy led to deaths of our own people and that is what happened here," Jolly said.

Caseworkers at his office listened to the conditions the veterans have experienced, an they are concerns Jolly plans to take to Washington as a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee.

"This is a historic crisis. I've said it requires historic reform only way to do that is listen to vets," Jolly said.

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Richard Bonnell of St. Petersburg says the pictures show a small glimpse of jungle rot -- a condition he got while serving over the war he says -- that's now all over his body.

"There were times I couldn't even go to work," Bonnell said.

Bonnell says for four years he's been trying to get the proper care and medication he needs and hopes coming here will help.

"All the VA does is give me the runaround. They look at it and tell me nothing," Bonnell said.

Jolly has caseworkers at his Seminole and Sty. Petersburg offices to help veterans with VA issues. Both offices are open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.:

-- St. Petersburg office: 425 22nd Ave. N., Suite C. St. Petersburg. Phone: (727) 823-8900. Fax: (727) 821-0484.

-- Seminole office: 9210 113th St., Seminole. Phone: (727) 392-4100. Fax: (727) 392-4989.


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