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By Kody Fairfield

A New Hampshire veteran was nearly forced to operate on himself after he says the Department Veterans Affairs refused to pay his medical bill, reports Fox25.

A deep cut from a power tool landed John Irish, a former Army National Guard solider and longtime EMT, at Lahey Medical Center. Shockingly however, the hospital denied him service for that wound unless he paid cash, explained Fox25.

Irish however, does not blame the hospital for the refusal, instead he blames what he calls the “broken federal system” that stuck him with the bill.

“I looked down and there was a piece of my finger missing,” Irish told Fox25.

His wound would not be the deepest cut, as Fox25 reports, he was then handed a slip from the hospital which explained that the VA would not pay for his service.

“They handed me a slip of paper saying, ‘we are going to have to have you sign this, because the VA says they’re not going to pay the bill,” he said, according to Fox25.

Irish receives benefits through the Veterans Affairs Choice program, which allows vets to access private care amidst lengthy wait times at VA medical facilities, reports Fox25.

This isn’t the first time the VA has refused payment according to Irish. It was the last straw though, he told Fox25.

“I thought it was about time the VA of New England got exposed for what it’s doing on this Choice program,” he said.

His idea, to remove the sutures, in his home, live on social media. Oddly enough, within hours, the VA agreed to pay for the procedure said Fox25.

“It’s totally disgusting that they have to threaten, beg or borrow to get medical treatment,” he said.

According to the report, the hospital showed Fox25 medical records that indicate last week, the hospital received a call from the Manchester VA stating about the sutures procedure. The VA also requested a follow-up physical for later this year.

But late Tuesday afternoon, a VA spokesperson told Boston 25, “a review of our records show there was no prior contact or authorization regarding Mr. Irish.

She also said, “no care or payment had been denied.”

Irish has said that any veteran who is stuck with the bill, or the red tape that comes with it, is a rejection of their service to their country, according to Fox25.

“The VA is required under the constitution to supply the veterans with the best medical care in the country, bar none. And realistically, we get the worst medical treatment in the world,” said Irish.

A spokesperson for Lahey Health sent Fox25 the following statement:

“Lahey Health is committed to providing high quality health care to all of our patients, including veterans. We recognize that navigating federal health care programs can be complicated. Any veteran having difficulty accessing care from a Lahey Health physician should contact us directly.”

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