Veteran refuses to leave Durham VA, demands long-term care


DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – James Francis said he proudly served his country in Vietnam and wants the services he was promised.

The combat veteran was discharged from the Durham VA Hospital Monday, but has refused to leave the facility.

The double amputee has been staying in waiting rooms or hallways.

“This my office,” Francis said as he showed CBS North Carolina his cart in the vestibule of the hospital.

It’s also Francis’ home at the moment.

“They said that I didn’t require hospitalization but I required assisted living,” Francis said.

According to Francis, that determination doesn’t fit his needs.

The 69-year-old requires help getting in and out of bed, and also using the bathroom.

He said assisted living isn’t enough and he wants the VA to pay for it.

“I done lost half my body in a war and and I’m here for long-term care,” Francis said.

“In your conversations with the VA do they seem to understand where James is coming from, where you’re coming from?” CBS North Carolina’s Amy Cutler asked Ron Allen, a veterans advocate.

“I believe they understand where he’s coming from. But there’s is one, from I guess a completely, completely of regulation,” Allen said.

Allen has been advocating for Francis, he also considers him a friend.

Francis admits the VA gave him four assisted living options. They also agreed to transport him and pay for the dialysis he gets three times a week.

While CBS North Carolina was interviewing Francis, a representative from the VA came out. She said she’d been checking on him, making sure he got the food and medicine he needed.

Francis denied that, telling us it was the first time he’d seen her.

In a statement, the VA said:

“The Durham VA Health Care System is dedicated to meeting the healthcare needs and ensuring the well-being of Mr. Francis. We will continue to work with Mr. Francis until we can find an agreeable living situation that he is comfortable with and that meets his healthcare needs.” – Sharonda Pearson, Chief of Public Affairs & Visual Communication Department.

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