Widow: Husband died after poor VA healthcare - KCTV5

Widow: Husband died after poor VA healthcare

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Amy Thill, right, of Tonganoxie, KS, feels the quality of care and the time it took to see a specialist at the VA is why her husband, left, lost his final battle. Amy Thill, right, of Tonganoxie, KS, feels the quality of care and the time it took to see a specialist at the VA is why her husband, left, lost his final battle.
TONGANOXIE, KS (AP) -

For one Leavenworth County widow, she feels the quality of care and the time it took to see a specialist at the VA is why her husband lost his final battle.

Amy Thill met Larry Van Anne much later in life after he served in the Air Force in Vietnam.

The Tonganoxie couple shared a love of riding motorcycles on the open road.

"I was the most selfless person you would have ever met. He was about helping others," Thill said.

Her husband helped others on his personal road to recovery as an addiction counselor.

But when he needed help with his lungs, Thill says the VA in Leavenworth wasn't there for him.

"Somebody dropped the ball. The Leavenworth VA dropped the ball in my opinion," she said.

Thill said her husband was only able to see a specialist for his lungs once a year.

During a visit to a different VA in Texas, they heard a much different report on his condition.

"The doctor in ICU told us he should have had a transplant three years ago," Thill said.

Thill's husband never left the ICU. He died in mid-May before he heard other veterans stories of problems in the VA system.

Thill says now she would have done things differently.

"I would have started yelling a lot louder," she said.

She hopes other veterans' families will now fight for care even if its outside the system setup to help vets.

"Get to a private doctor and get a second opinion," she said.

KCTV5 News reached out to the VA in Leavenworth for comment but didn't hear back about how long it takes to see specialists in the system.

But a former VA doctor at another metro area VA says getting into certain specialist can be a challenge.

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