Norfolk veteran: Emergency surgery might have been avoided if doctor was available at Hampton VA hospital


HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — James Moore needed emergency surgery last week, but he says it wouldn’t have become so drastic had he been able to get an appointment with a primary care physician from the Hampton Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

James Moore has had problems with a hernia in the past.

“It never really hurt until last week. Just all of a sudden, I started getting stomach cramps real bad in my lower abdomen,” James Moore recalled. “I went to stand up and I was so dizzy I almost fell down and started losing my speech.”

James Moore would have preferred to have the procedure done at the Hampton VA where he has 100% medical coverage, but the former Vietnam-era sailor aboard the carrier USS Independence hadn’t seen his primary care physician at Hampton in more than a year.

His daughter-in-law is convinced that made the difference.

“Definitely he would not have had to have emergency surgery if we would have gotten him into a primary care provider,” said Brenda Moore.

The family says it was more than the pandemic. They cite a lack of communication, even when they contacted Hampton’s patient advocate, as well as a couple of times when they drove to the Hampton VA, only then did they find out that an appointment had been canceled.

“We were upset that they wouldn’t even acknowledge to let us know, ‘Hey, the doctor’s not here, the doctor’s on vacation.’ Nothing,” Brenda Moore said. “[It’s] aggravating.”

James Moore says when the EMTs arrived last week, they said they had to take him to the nearest available hospital – and that was Depaul Medical Center in Norfolk.

The Moores were worried about the bill, but under the Mission Act and the VA’s Community Care program, veteran benefits will cover eligible urgent care at a civilian hospital.

10 On Your Side has connected VA officials with James Moore, and we will update his case and what the VA is doing to address scheduling problems.

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