VA hands out millions in malpractice cases according to oversight report by Sen. Tom Coburn

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. - A military man through and through, Raymond Spear served 20 years in the United States Air Force.

He was a Vietnam veteran and a loving husband to his wife and three daughters.

"One born in Hawaii, one born in Ohio, and one born in Maine," said his wife Judith Spear.

Her husband lived an incredible life that his wife says was cut short because of poor care at the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center in Muskogee, Okla.    

"Failure? Absolutely," said Judith. "They just didn't care."

In November of 2011, Raymond was admitted to the Muskogee VA for dangerously high potassium levels.

That's when his wife says Raymond waited, waited, and waited to see a doctor.



"By this time my husband was in very bad shape," said Judith.

Finally after 48 hours she says a doctor came to his room and by then she says it was too late.

He died several days later, after being transferred to a Tulsa hospital.

"It's hard to live with," said Judith. "The people we had worked so hard for. He loved the military and they failed him, flat out failed him."

Judith wanted to file suit against the VA but didn't.

"You can't find an attorney anywhere in Oklahoma that will go against the federal government in court," said Judith.

However it appears many people across the country did find an attorney.

According to Death, Delay and Dismay at the VA, a VA oversight report released by Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, the VA paid out nearly $1 billion to veterans and their families in medical malpractice cases over the past decade.

With the average doctor making just more than $191,000, the VA could have hired more than 5,000 doctors and paid their salaries for one year with the $1 billion they handed out in malpractice cases.

2NEWS made multiple requests over two weeks to interview a VA spokesperson for this story, but no one was made available by our deadline.

Judith says she's never heard from the VA either, no explanation for the doctor's delay in seeing her husband.

Now she's left with a life of missing her military hero.

"Every day, but only his physical presence because he's still there," said Judith.

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