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Dayton VA admits not disclosing infection information to veteran, his family

UPDATE @ 8:15 p.m. (May 1): The Dayton VA Medical Center has responded to a Kettering veteran's claim that he lost his leg to amputation after VA hospital officials withheld information about a MRSA infection. 

Dayton VA officials on Tuesday confirmed that the medical records the Collier family shared with WHIO-TV were released by the hospital, News Center 7's Lauren Clark reports. One notation from those records shows that a doctor first noted a MRSA infection in April 2016. Kenneth Collier lost his leg weeks later. 

That document from his medical records that the veteran's wife, Margie Collier, gave WHIO-TV shows a positive foot culture on April 4, 2016, and advises staff to take precautions to prevent transmission of the infection. Dayton VA officials confirmed the document's authenticity. 

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In June 2017, the family received a letter from the Dayton VA acknowledging that the hospital was aware of the infection and never told the family. In it, the chief of staff apologized to the Collier family. 

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A few weeks after a small foot procedure at the VA, Kenneth Collier said a Kettering Medical Center physician first told him his leg was badly infected with MRSA. 

Margie Collier said, "He told me and my sons, 'You don't understand. We're not going to be able to fight this infection as long as he keeps his leg.' " 

The Colliers said they were shocked to learn the VA knew about the infection and never disclosed it to them. 

"Ya know, we coulda told ya. We shoulda told ya. But we let the doctors know!" Margie Collier said about the VA's correspondence. 

The Colliers filed a federal tort claim, which the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs denied last month. 

The Colliers then called the Cox Media Group newsroom. 

Tuesday, Raymond Hoy, Dayton VA public affairs specialist, emailed the following statement: "While it is true that Mrs. Collier was unaware of the MRSA culture results, Mr. Collier's doctors were aware of the MRSA culture results and treated him appropriately as confirmed by the investigtion, which prompted the tort claim. We remain committed to providing comprehensive care to Mr. Collier and look forward to continuing to provide him the care that he needs." 

Margie Collier said, "They don't want to accept that they did something wrong. I want to make sure that they change it so it doesn't happen to anybody else. And ya know, what he's gone through just should never have happened." 

The Colliers said the Dayton VA's apology isn't enough when there's a chance what happened to Kenneth Collier could happen to someone else.

INITIAL REPORT (April 30)

A local veteran’s leg had to be amputated after the Dayton VA failed to notify him of a MRSA infection, according to his family.

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Kenneth Collier was admitted to the VA for a routine procedure on his foot in March 2016, according to the veteran’s wife, Margie Collier.

Doctors at Kettering Hospital told him he had MRSA -- an infection -- that had spread through his leg, infected his knee and had to be amputated two months later, Collier said.

“Everything could have been avoided, I think, if the VA had told us he has an infection. We could have dealt with it before he lost his leg. Our whole life has changed in two years. It’s gone upside-down,” the veteran’s wife said.

Collier said the VA knew of the infection.

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“We went out to the VA for a routine appointment and they said, ‘Oh yeah well, we see on your records that he had MRSA,’ ” Collier said.

The family told News Center 7 Reporter Lauren Clark they received a letter this month stating that the VA denied medical negligence.

A spokesperson for the VA said they were looking into the specifics but could not comment on the case and would issue a response Tuesday.

Margie said she spent time reaching out to local lawmakers.

Officials with Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, told us they are investigating the case. 

A spokesperson with Congressman Mike Turner, R-Dayton, said he cannot comment. Officials with Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, have yet to respond to us.

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