A local veteran said he’s been abandoned by our system. Robert “Bobby” Robison says he was left on the streets of Los Angeles after he was discharged by the Veterans Affairs clinic.
A marine veteran, Robison served more than 40 years after his service in the marines, he struggles with substance abuse. What’s more, he says his health has taken a turn for the worse.
“My condition is congestive heart failure,” Robison said. “I’m not pumping enough blood from my heart.”
That’s why he sought treatment last month at the Veterans Hospital in West Los Angeles.
“I got on a bus, went down there and admitted myself. They were going to keep me for a week.”
But he said that’s not what happened.
“The next day they discharged me,” he said.
He was discharged from the hospital at 3 p.m. on a Friday, just after the last veterans charter bus of the week left from Los Angeles to Bakersfield. Robison said he had no choice but to stay the weekend at the v-a until he could catch the next bus monday. But he ran into a problem.
“They said they had no beds, so I went into the lobby at the West LA Veterans Hospital and they said ‘no, you can’t stay inside.'”
That’s when he realized he would need to spend the weekend on the streets.
“I didn’t know what to do. I’m a 64-year-old guy with a serious heart condition, and I’m on the streets of LA.”
The following Monday, he caught the bus and made his way to Legacy Village. The facility is a drug and alcohol treatment center in east Bakersfield. Dennis Farmer, the organization’s chief executive officer, said attempts have been made to re-schedule the appointment with the V.A., but noted it has not been easy.
“In this particular case, we reached out for the V.A. and were met with all kinds of delays,” he said.
That’s when Farmer decided to seek the help of congressman Kevin McCarthy. McCarthy became involved and asked the V.A. to look into the matter. In a letter sent from the V.A. to McCarthy, a representive from the hospital said Robison declined the care and resources from the V.A.
Robison disuputes that, noting the blame rests on the V.A.
“Whatever these policies are, they need to check some of these policies,” he said.
Farmer said he worries for the other veterans not receiving the care they deserve.
Our larger concern is that this problem isn’t an anomaly,” he said. “In this particular case, I’m sure in hundreds of others… are languishing on the streets that aren’t able to reach out and get the services they need.”
Farmer says Legacy Village will continue to seek help for Robison.