NY Vet Exposed to Hepatitis at Florida VA Dies at 63

A U.S. Army veteran who was allowed benefits for nine years but denied them after the VA health system had possibly made him sick, has died, reports the Register-Star of Columbia County.

Terrence Kevin Bradley died Sunday at the age of 63 in Albany.

He had been drafted by the Hudson Draft Board but served only about a year before being discharged for medical reasons. Still, the VA health care system enrolled him in 2001.  

He and his wife lived in Florida for several years. In 2009 he went to the VA in Miami, which was then giving free colonoscopies to veterans, according to registerstar.com.

About 11,000 veterans received colonoscopies with improperly-cleaned equipment between 2004 and 2009 at VA hospitals in Miami, Tennessee and Georgia, according to an investigation by the VA’s own Administrative Investigation Board, the Miami Herald reported in 2012.

More than 2,000 were exposed to Hepatitis C, which can cause severe liver damage.

The VA informed vets in 2009 who had had the procedure that they were at risk for hepatitis C because of the colonoscopy. Bradley went in for a test, which came back positive. 

(A New York VA official says records show Bradley was diagnosed with Hep C in 2002, but the Bradleys said they were told that it wasn't true, his records had been mixed up with another Terrence Bradley, the Star-Register reported.) 

In 2009 the Bradleys moved back to New York. He received medical treatment from the Albany VA in 2009 and 2010.

Later diagnosed with liver cancer, Bradley was treated at the Albany Medical Center Oncology Department.

By that time he was afraid of the VA health system, his wife told the Star-Register.

But he couldn't have used it even if he wanted to, because he was informed in 2010 by the Florida Regional VA Office that he wasn't entitled to benefits.

Columbia County Veterans Services director Gary Flaherty took on Bradley's case. But the VA's long delays in processing are themselves the subject of scandal nationwide. Bradley was still without veterans benefits when he died.

Flaherty told the Star-Register he would pay for Bradley's cremation out of his department's funds. 

Read the Star-Register's full story here. 


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