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HEALTH : Accusations of delayed care to veterans sometimes resulting in death
Now to accusations that U.S. Military Veterans are dying because of delayed care at Veterans hospitals.
An investigation revealed that VA managers knew about the dangerous delays and took steps to hide the fact that vets were waiting so long for care.
It was a plan by top management at this Veterans Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona to hide that as many as 1,600 veterans were waiting many months to get a doctor's appointment.
CNN has learned at least 40 veterans left waiting for care, many who were on that secret waiting list, are now dead.
According to multiple sources, the management's plan included shredding the evidence, to hide the fact that there was a waiting list at all.
Dr. Sam Foote just retired after spending 24 years with the VA Health System in Arizona.
The veteran doctor says the hospital did have a list that showed the VA was providing timely appointments, within 14 days, but it was a sham.
"So the only record that you-- have ever been there requesting care was on that secret list. And they wouldn't take you off that secret list until you had an appointment time that was less than 14 days so it would give the appearance that they were improving greatly the waiting times when in reality it had been six, nine, in some cases 21 months."
In the case of a 71 year old U.S. Navy Veteran named Thomas Breen, the wait ended much sooner.
"He started to bleeding in his urine. So I was like, 'Listen, we gotta get you to the doctor. And we gotta get you to the doctor.'"
Teddy Barnes-Breen says his Brooklyn raised father Thomas Francis Breen, so proud of his military service, would go nowhere but the VA for treatment.
And on September 28th, with blood in his urine and a history of cancer, teddy and his wife, rushed him to the Phoenix VA emergency room where he was examined, and he was sent home to wait.
"All they wrote on his chart was Must see, must have primary doctor in one week.
And they sent him home.
Reporter: Did anybody call?
Sally kept calling, day after day, from late September, through October, through November.
Then she no longer had reason to call.
Thomas Breen died on November 30, 2013.
The bleeding was from inoperable stage 4 bladder cancer.
"They call me December 6th. He's dead already.
Reporter: They called you and said?
I said what is this regarding and they said we have a primary for him. I said, Really, you're a little too late, sweetheart."
CNN has obtained e-mails showing top management, including Phoenix VA Director Sharon Helman, knew about the actual wait times, knew about the off-the-books list and defended its use to her staff.
Which makes this statement to CNN from Helman all the more strange: It is disheartening to hear allegations about veterans care being compromised," the director writes, "and we are open to any collaborative discussion that assists in our goal to continually improve patient care."
Sam Foote says that response is stunning.
"Reporter: This was all planned. And it was planned by the very highest authorities here in, in Phoenix?
Reporter: Basically you have medical directors cooking the books?
The Phoenix VA issued an additional statement acknowledging quote "The Phoenix VA Health Care System has had long-standing issues with veterans accessing care and have taken numerous actions to meet demand, while we continue to serve more veterans and enhance our services."