One Army Veteran Isn’t Getting the Surgery He Needs


Army veteran Brandon Donovan has been suffering from Median Arcuate Ligament Syndrome (MALS) for nine years and is trying to get the help he needs. This condition means that Brandon is in constant pain and struggles to eat. He has had extreme weight loss and has no energy for daily tasks.

Brandon had to look outside the VA for a vascular surgeon to help him and after years of searching, he finally found someone who could help, Dr. Richard Hsu in Connecticut.

He Found Help, But…

He submitted referrals backed by prestigious surgeons in his local Portland hospital requesting that the VA allow him to get this surgery by Dr. Hsu, but his request has been denied twice.

The first request denial was due to the fact that the VA employs their own vascular surgeons, but these surgeons all agreed that Brandon should be under the care of Dr. Hsu instead. The second denial came based on the idea that there was a lack of evidence for his case and they lacked a necessary billing code to follow through with the procedure.

Brandon was so close to potentially finding relief from his pain, but now doesn’t know where to turn for help. Oregon Senator Ron Wyden has gotten involved in the matter, but it is unknown what the VA intends to do at this time.

What Happens Next?

For now, his family has started fundraising efforts to be able to pay for the surgery on their own. Brandon’s experience with the VA showed that they really did their best to get him the care he needed, but they ultimately weren’t able to follow through for him.

Have you been able to get care outside the VA?