North Carolina veteran fighting for his life in Maine to be transferred to VA hospital in Boston

13News Now reporter Jonathan Costen brings you the update.

BANGOR, Maine (WVEC) -- A North Carolina veteran diagnosed with a rare bacterial disease in Maine is finally being transferred to a Boston hospital on Saturday.

He has been fighting this disease with no solution or help in sight for three weeks.

“One minute you go into the room he is able to speak, he is able to drink fluid... and the next he is grasping for air, really trying to catch his breath,” said Heather Donald.

Heather is talking about her father, 66-year-old-David White of Hertford, North Carolina. He went to Bangor, Maine to visit her and ended up checking himself into a hospital for a mysterious illness.

“What they have finally diagnosed him with is a rare, rapidly spreading, infectious disease,” said Heather.

The Vietnam veteran needed to be transferred to a larger hospital in Massachusetts to get the treatment he needs.

“We are being told that the VA hospital in Boston doesn’t have rooms available. He was put on a list, but that was now three days ago,” said Heather.

There is another hospital in Boston that does have beds available and specialized doctors, but they are not affiliated with the VA, so the transfer was denied. The family said it’s a helpless feeling.

On Saturday, the family was told that a bed was available at the VA hospital in Boston, and that he could be transferred.

In a statement, the VA said: "Today, working closely with St Joseph’s Hospital in Bangor Maine, Veteran David White will be transported to Massachusetts and receive specialty care at the West Roxbury campus of VA Boston.

"Mr. White, a North Carolina Veteran, is a patient at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Maine and was accepted for transfer to VA Boston Healthcare System yesterday pending an open bed.

"We value our relationships with our community and sister facilities and will continue to work together to deliver the highest quality care to Veterans at the VA and in the community."

“Extremely frustrating to fight for someone that you love so much and you are trying to do anything you can, just to get the care you need,” said Heather.

The family said David didn’t have any more time to wait around. His condition was growing worse by the day.

“On Wednesday my biggest fear was that he was going to pass away in the bed here,” said Heather. “He’s a veteran, we should be taking care of him, this should not be caught in the red tape, we should do what’s right for the patient.”


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