Woman says VA killed her husband

Created: 06/24/2014 9:48 PM
By: Chris Ramirez, KOB Eyewitness News 4

It wasn't quite love at first sight but, it was love formed nearly twenty years ago between Lynne Schlumpf and Dan Solodon.

Dan had just left the Air Force where he was jet mechanic. Lynne was newly retired.  They eventually married and years later Lynne, an avid painter, started noticing Dan's health change.

That was in April 2011.  The only cure is a liver transplant, but part of Dan's disease caused him to retain fluid in his body.

“Every time he would see a liver specialist, they would tell us he needs to lose 100 pounds or he can't get on the transplant list,” said Lynne

In three years, Lynne says her husband saw doctors at VA hospitals in Alaska, South Carolina, and Michigan. All saying the same thing, his weight prevented him from the possibility of a liver transplant. 

In October 2013, Dan moved to Albuquerque. His treatment was moved to the VA location here. When his new doctor saw him, Lynne says, she was astonished.

“The first thing she asked us was no one has given you diuretics before,” Lynne said.

The diuretics are designed to shed fluid out of the body.  Immediately, Dan’s Albuquerque doctor put him on a regimen of diuretics and the results were instant.

“He lost 100 pounds within a very short amount of time. It put him under the weight limit that he needed to be on the transplant list, but it was too late,” said Lynne. “His kidneys were failing already, his blood counts were almost zero, and it was just too late.”

He had gone three years ballooning with fluids. By the time he was eligible for a transplant he was dying.

On April 4th, Dan died in his Rio Rancho home.

Lynne blamed herself for Dan’s death, wondering if she could have done anything differently for him but, her blame has shifted.

“There were incompetent doctors. They were doctors who didn't care.  They were doctors who just wanted to get him out. Get him in and get him out,” stated Lynne

Federal patient privacy laws don't allow the VA to tell me whether Dan was on the right medications or not.  But, Lynne is speaking with her congresswoman.  Lynne says she is prepared to take Dan's story all the way to Washington if it will help improve conditions at VA hospitals.

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