More than five months after being measured at the Hampton Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Arthur DeAngelis is still waiting for his wheelchair.
But it's not so much the wait that DeAngelis has endured that has upset him and his wife, Elaine.
"I think our biggest beef with the VA is the lack of communication," Elaine DeAngelis said.
Arthur DeAngelis, 80, served in the Air Force for nearly four years and received an honorable discharge in March 1961. He's lived at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, an assisted-living center, since December following a July 2015 fall that broke his back, the DeAngelises said.
Arthur DeAngelis was fitted April 22 for a custom manual chair, documents provided by the couple show. VA progress notes dated the same day include a goal of receiving the chair in six to eight weeks.
As those weeks turned into months, the couple said they called the VA four to six times to ask about the chair. Their calls were not returned, they said. Elaine DeAngelis said she dropped by the center's occupational therapy department this summer to ask in person. Therapists work with the prosthetics department to fill prescriptions for wheelchairs and other devices.
"They just said, 'We will call you," Elaine DeAngelis said.
Arthur DeAngelis currently uses a chair provided by Our Lady of Perpetual Help. A custom-fitted chair would provide more support, and he could bring that one home, the couple said.
After The Virginian-Pilot inquired about the delay in late September, Elaine DeAngelis said VA officials called to say they could expect the chair by sometime this week. She said she received another call from the prosthetics clinic that indicated the chair had been delivered in July. What was actually delivered was a foam insert for the chair, she said.
Veterans Affairs officials declined to talk specifically about the DeAngelises' case, citing privacy concerns, but called theirs an isolated incident.
Wait times can vary for items depending on patients' needs, and some wheelchairs may be provided the same day, said Dr. Therese Drew, Hampton VA's chief of rehabilitation and medicine.
Robert Clayborn, chief of prosthetics at the Hampton VA, said a typical wait for a custom-fitted wheelchair is six to 12 weeks.
According to VA data, the prosthetic clinic sees about 100 patients daily and issued nearly 164,000 items during fiscal 2016. That included 226 motorized wheelchairs, 215 custom manual wheelchairs and 314 standard chairs, Clayborn said.
Clayborn said the prosthetics department tracks orders made through vendors.
"Had it been brought to my attention earlier, we would have acted on it," he said. "Again, this is not typical of the way we do business here."
Elaine DeAngelis said her calls went to occupational therapy. Clayborn said there was no evidence that anyone from the prosthetics clinic spoke with the couple.
Army and Air Force Exchange Service officials are warning soldiers and military families to be aware of scammers using the Exchange's logo.
In a news release Wednesday, Exchange officials said scammers using the name "Exchange Inc." have "fooled" soldiers and airmen to broker the sale of used cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats and boat engines.
KABUL (Reuters) - The Islamic State (IS) militant group claimed responsibility on Sunday for a suicide blast at a wedding reception in Afghanistan that killed 63 people, underlining the dangers the country faces even if the Taliban agrees a pact with the United States.
The Saturday night attack came as the Taliban and the United States try to negotiate an agreement on the withdrawal of U.S. forces in exchange for a Taliban commitment on security and peace talks with Afghanistan's U.S.-backed government.
Islamic State fighters, who first appeared in Afghanistan in 2014 and have since made inroads in the east and north, are not involved in the talks. They are battling government and U.S.-led international forces and the Taliban.
The group, in a statement on the messaging website Telegram, claimed responsibility for the attack at a west Kabul wedding hall in a minority Shi'ite neighborhood, saying its bomber had been able to infiltrate the reception and detonate his explosives in the crowd of "infidels".
Calling aviation geeks in New York City: The British are coming.
In their first visit to the United States since 2008, the Royal Air Force "Red Arrows" will perform an aerial demonstration next week over the Hudson River, according to an Air Force news release. F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, the Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels demonstration teams will also be part of the show.