One Woman Says Claremore VA Center Saved Her Father's Life

Wednesday, October 10th 2012, 10:43 pm

By: News On 6

The past couple of weeks have seen some horror stories coming out of Oklahoma's veterans centers, but there are still some success stories.

A senate panel is reviewing Oklahoma's seven veterans centers after a scalding death in Claremore.

One Green Country woman says she has nothing but praise for that center.

Evette Welch has her father and an uncle in the Claremore Veterans Center.

She credits the staff with saving her father's life.

Welch transferred her father, Everett, to the Claremore Veterans Center two years ago, and said she appreciates that decision every day.

"These people have really treated him like an American hero," Welch said.

10/2/2012 Related Story: Inspection Reveals Abuse At Claremore Veterans Center

She gasped when she heard about 85-year-old Jay Minter, who was burned so badly during a whirlpool bath at the center that he died.

Welch said that horrible accident never should have happened, but her father's experience has been completely opposite and that story is worth telling, too.

"My dad, and there are so many others in that VA center, that they have nurses and doctors who love them dearly," Welch said.

Everett Welch, 82, has advanced dementia.

At his previous home, he was on a walker, extremely medicated and confused, daily.

Now, he no longer needs a walker, he's talking, he's on limited medication and he recognizes his family.

10/9/2012 Related Story: Lawmakers Hear Testimonies On Conditions At Oklahoma VA Centers

Two current employees at the Claremore VA testified Tuesday at the legislative review of Oklahoma's veterans centers.

They told lawmakers they sometimes lie on patient charts about the care veterans receive, because they're understaffed and overworked.

"It's not an abusive place by any means. It's not neglectful. I doubt it," Welch said. "Do they probably need more nurses? Yeah."

Welch said she would recommend the Claremore Veterans Center to anyone.

"I would not have my dad with me and my grand kids would not have their great grandfather today, had it not been for Claremore VA and the loving people there," Welch said.

The final senate committee meeting on Oklahoma's VA centers is October 23, at the state capitol.

The Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs said it's dedicated to improving the Claremore center.


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