Ryan Goggin admits,
“I wasn’t scared in the Army. I wasn’t scared in Iraq…But when they told me I had leukemia, I was scared”.
Goggin is an Army veteran who was 10 months into his deployment in Iraq when a roadside bomb pummeled his vehicle. Goggin suffered a traumatic brain injury from this event as well as post-traumatic stress disorder and his military career was quickly ended.
Goggin, who is currently 29, was healthy and active until this January when he was rushed to the hospital. It was then that he was diagnosed with Acite Lymphoblastic Leukemia or ALL, a severe type of blood cancer.
His chemotherapy began at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. Upon beginning cancer treatment, Goggin was told by the VA that they would cover his FULL treatment at Sylvester.
However two months into treatment his doctor wrote an urgent letter to the VA asking for approval of a stem cell transplant. Two weeks passed with no answer.
The doctor wrote AGAIN and made it clear that,
“No financial clearance has been granted to our center. Further delays in decision will expose him to unnecessary, strong, maybe even life threatening chemotherapies”.
More time passed with no answer. It wasn’t until Goggin began receiving phone calls from a hospital in Nashville that he realized that the VA intended to move his treatment elsewhere in order for it to be covered.
However Goggin was soon to discover that he did not feel confident in any treatment at the hospital at Nashville after various encounters.
Scared for his life, Goggin was forced into a corner. He was pushed to the decision to pay for his treatment himself so his path for healing could begin as soon as possible with the best treatment.
Goggin sadly admits,
” As a veteran, I didn’t have a choice in this care, and the VA didn’t stand behind me”.
U.S. Representative Jeff Miller represents Florida’s 1st District and is also thr chairman of the House Committe on Veterans Affairs. When he caught wind of Goggin’s case Miller announced,
“Apparently, according to VA’s twisted logic, leukemia doesn’t qualify as a medical emergency. This is exactly the type of cold-hearted, obstinately bureaucratic behavior that makes the average citizen lose faith in their government. That’s why we have brought this issue to the attention of officials at VA headquarters in Washington with a request for them to clarify this policy and make the veteran whole as soon as possible. VA has multiple avenues to pay for this treatment at a location that’s convenient for the veteran. These programs, including Choice, were created for the express purpose of expanding medical care access for veterans in need. Attempts to use these programs as an excuse to deny veterans care are wrong and contrary to the spirit of the law.”