Jerry Holliman received Bronze Stars for his military service in Iraq and Vietnam, where he was dosed with Agent Orange. Now 69, Hollman has survived multiple cancers, but lost both his legs to complications from diabetes.
The VA would not cover the artificial legs he received from Hanger, a med-tech company. Hanger told him to try to get Medicare to pay for them, but Holliman refused because no one would tell him how large the co-pay he'd be liable for would be.
While Holliman was in a VA nursing home learning to use his new legs, Hanger sent a technician to service his legs. When Holliman refused to sign paperwork that said he would use Medicare to pay for them, the technician took his legs and left the facility.
After being investigated by the Mississippi Clarion Ledger, Hanger returned his legs, but refuse to service them until they are paid for them. Without service, they are unusable, so Holliman is now legless.
The legs are basically useless if Hanger won't make any more adjustments, Holliman said, and without those adjustments, he's stuck at the Veterans Home. Depression and anxiety are setting in, he said.
At 69, Holliman said he's one of the youngest residents at the home. He said his roommate died last month.
"I was here for one thing — to get my prosthetic legs, learn how to walk in 'em, and go home," Holliman said. "…I've been here over a year. I wanna go home. This place is not for me. It's a dignified place for these guys to die, that's what it is… It's probably every other month somebody dies here. And you know what they do? Put a flag over them, and play 'Taps' and take them outta here."
When asked about his future, Holliman said he wants to live another 20 or 30 years, enjoy his retirement and go fishing.
A company repossessed and returned a vet's prosthetic legs. He still can't use them [Giacomo Bologna/Mississippi Clarion Ledger]
(via Naked Capitalism)