Veterans Affairs reviews prosthetics lab after complaints

After a blood clot forced the amputation of his left leg in 2012.

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By Nathan Baca & Jodi Andes

After a blood clot forced the amputation of his left leg in 2012, retired Navy Cmdr. Robert Haas was counting on the prosthetics lab at Columbus’ Chalmers P. Wylie VA Ambulatory Center to help him regain his mobility.

Sadly, he says, his trust was misplaced.

Despite multiple attempts, the prosthetist assigned to care for Haas at the East Side facility proved unable to fit the 30-year veteran with an artificial leg that would enable him to walk — or even stand — without excruciating pain.

Haas’ months-long ordeal — coupled with similar accounts from more than a dozen other central Ohio amputees — triggered a review by the Department of Veterans Affairs’ inspector general. The findings have yet to be released.

It also brought to light a VA hiring practice that potentially exposes patients to unlicensed prosthetists who would be barred from working in civilian health care — at least in Ohio, which imposed minimum training requirements more than a decade ago.

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