Veteran, 80, wants help from VA for hearing loss

GEORGETOWN, Fla. -- James Fritch hasspent the last two years fighting the Veterans Administration over his hearing loss.

"My hearing is terrible," he said.

The Putnam County resident served in the Navy during the Korean War; he said his role was loading the 40 millimeter guns.

Fritch said that's where his hearing loss began, but theVA told him the damage to his hearingis not service-connected.

"Ever since I came out of the service, my hearing has been bothering me," said Fritch.

Two years ago, the VA sent him to a Florida hospital for ear surgery; hesaid whatever they did, did not work.

"I fall down, at night I can't go out because I can't stand up," he said, "The surgery I was suppose to have, I didn't get."

Fritch wants the VAto fix his hearing, but feels he's getting the run around.

"I kept going in and they kept saying 'come back in four months, come back in four months,'" he said.

He's disappointed in the process and the bureaucracy and he said he is not alone.

"When a veteran does have a problem, the advocate shouldn't say 'why don't you go to your own doctor,'" said Fritch.

Fritch, 80, said because of his hearing, he spends more time reading than watching television.

"I can't hear the TV," said Fritch.

Fritch plans to use the rest of his days to fight for the treatment he said he deserves.

"I am trying to get my life back; it is affecting my driving and everything else," said Fritch.

First Coast News has contacted the VA regional office on his behalf and are waiting to see how they will address his concerns.


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