Sad update to WFLA News Got Vietnam Veteran Justice
Finally awarded Agent Orange benefits, veteran succumbs to cancer the VA missed
By: WFLA Staff
Updated: May 07, 2018
TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. (WFLA) - As his wife Sheila held Lonnie Kilpatrick's hand, his daughter Kassie recorded some of his last words.
The Navy veteran said there is a reason for everything - his struggle with the VA, his impending death.
"Make something out of it, make it count," Lonnie said in a weak voice.
We met Lonnie in February, shortly after he learned Stage 4 kidney cancer had spread through his body.
"That hit me like a ton of bricks," he told us from his bed in Holiday in February.
For good reason. For four years, doctors at the VA at Bay Pines said his back pain was arthritis and disc related.
"Just couldn't get nobody to take it serious that, hey I've lost 50 pounds," explained Lonnie at the time.
The VA treated Lonnie for kidney cancer in 2013, pronounced him cancer-free, then missed its recurrence.
"You know you're going to lose him and that could have been prevented if the VA had followed up," said daughter Keri Ackerson.
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