11 Alive News
Jamie McBride is program manager for the VA transplant system in San Antonio, Texas. After five years working at the VA, he’s blowing the whistle about a broken system.
It doesn’t take long for Tamara Nelson to get emotional watching home video of the day her husband, Charles, received a life-saving kidney transplant this past June.Photo: Pierrotti, Andy
Their son, Coty, agreed to donate to save his father’s life. “Watching my son is what makes me cry the most,” said Nelson in July.
It’s a surgery that almost didn’t happen. Nelson is an Army veteran. He went through basic training in Fort Benning, Georgia and now lives outside Austin, Texas.
While in the service, Nelson got sick, which infected his kidneys. “He was so sick I didn’t think he was going to make it to transplant,” said Nelson.
This past June, Charles says the VA approved the transplant. So, he and his son prepared for surgery. Two days before the operation, they got unexpected news.
The VA told them it could not pay for the transplant because their son is not a veteran himself.
“That’s just idiotic. Now you’re making it harder on me, limiting the people I can use. It was just unbelievable is what it was,” said veteran.
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