May 15 - U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki says he's ''mad as hell'' over allegations that dozens of veterans died awaiting medical care at a VA facility in Phoenix. Vanessa Johnston reports.
U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki was on Capitol Hill answering to allegations veterans died while waiting for medical care at a government facility in Phoenix. It's his first major public appearance since the controversy began. SOUNDBITE (English) U.S. VETERANS AFFAIRS SECRETARY ERIC SHINSEKI SAYING: "Any allegation, any adverse incidents like this, makes me as -- makes me mad as hell. I could use stronger language here, Mr. Chairman, but in deference to the committee, I won't. But at the same time, it also saddens me, because I understand that out of those adverse events, a veteran and a veteran's family is dealing in the aftermath, and I always try to put myself in their shoes." Physicians say managers orchestrated a cover-up to hide how long veterans were waiting for treatment. Veterans groups say similar schemes have been reported across the country. Senators including navy veteran John McCain did little to hide their frustration. SOUNDBITE (English) ARIZONA STATE SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN SAYING: "It's been more than a month since allegations that some 40 veterans died while waiting for care at the Phoenix V.A. were first made public. To date, the Obama administration has failed to respond in an effective manner. This has created in our veterans community a crisis of confidence toward the V.A., the very agency that was established to care for them." Shinseki has vowed to take "timely action" to investigate the problem.