Veteran says VA won't reimburse for outside costs following surgery

Source: WGCL

CBS46 is fighting for our veterans and getting results.

We have an update to a story we first brought you over a week ago. It's regarding a veteran who was in debt from medical bills that the VA refused to pay.

Just two weeks ago Bobby Fisk, an army vet who served in Afghanistan, was struggling to pay medical bills. The bills came after complications from a back surgery performed by the VA. After following up nearly every day since our story aired, I found out Monday from the VA that they agreed to pay Fisk's bills that were originally denied.

Fisk was left with an infected wound after the VA failed to remove his stitches following the back surgery. He sought outside care after a nurse from the VA told him to go to the nearest emergency room. Fisk followed the same procedure for other medical emergencies but for years was fighting the VA for re-reimbursement.

"I had a piece of steel stuck in my side, I had gastritis, I had a big infected lesion in my leg and you know things that are pretty prevalent and need emergency care since 2015 they haven't paid any of those bills what so ever," said Fisk.

In a statement to CBS46 reporter Natalie Rubino, the VA said Fisk's bills were originally denied because of an administrative error. They also added:We are reviewing our internal procedures to ensure all of our Veterans receive the services they deserve in a timely manner."

Army veteran seeks answers

Bobby Fisk is a decorated war veteran.

"I went into the Army in February 2009. In July, I was on a plane to Afghanistan," said Fisk.

He enlisted at age 35 in hopes of giving his wife and children a better life, but it's been everything but easy since. Fisk was hurt not once, but twice by a bomb blast.

"I remember feeling weightless, and then I remember my vision coming in and blacking out just for a second, and then the impact back down on the ground," said Fisk.

After nearly four years of service, Fisk was medically discharged, but his fight wasn't over.

In November, Fisk had surgery at the VA to get a mole removed from his back. That surgery went fine, but it was getting an appointment for after-care that caused a ripple effect.

"I started calling every day. 'Hey, what's up? You know, I got a bunch of stitches in my back. All I know is to clean it, I don't know when to come back to get the sutures removed, I don't know anything else.' And all I would get is, 'Someone will call you back,'" he said.

After nearly three weeks, Fisk went to another hospital for help.

"I heard the two nurses say, 'I've never seen a suture like this, this is a horrible suture for an incision like this,'" he said.

Those nurses removed two cups of fluid from Fisk's wound. The wound ended up getting infected, costing him another trip to the emergency room. Now Fisk is stuck with mounds of medical bills for the treatment.

The VA won't reimburse him for the outside costs, and those unpaid bills are standing in the way of Fisk buying a home for his family of five.

"Well considering I took two direct IED blasts in one month, you know fighting for the cause that our leaders sent us to fight for, yes I do think I'm entitled to that," he said.

Fisk's case is now part of a class action federal malpractice lawsuit against the VA. I reached out the VA, pressing them for answers on this. I'm told they're working on gathering all the information for me and that they'll get back to us as soon as possible.

And we will, of course, make sure they do.

Copyright 2018 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Multimedia Journalist

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