COMER, Ga. -- Norma Patterson said she spent more than two years sending emails and making phone calls to try and get the Department of Veteran Affairs and the Athens Regional Medical Center to sort out the bills of her late father.
James Walker served in both World War II and the Korean War. He was treated at Athens Regional Medical Center because there were no beds available at the VA hospital in Augusta. Walker's family said that they were assured the VA would pick up the tab. However, about a year after Walker's death, the family said bill collectors began contacting them.
Bill Liss at the 11Alive Help Desk cut through the red tape and went right to the Medical Center, where Patterson's father died.
Liss found out that they had done their homework on the case. They had a surprise for Bill, which he then shared right away with Patterson.
"We came all the way out to Comer because we wanted to tell you personally that the hospital has forgiven the debt and you don't owe anything to anybody," Liss said.
"That's great. That is wonderful news. We really appreciate it and I know my mother--she has dementia --when I explain it to her, she is going to be happy too. This is great. I really thank you all," Patterson said. "This has been one big headache."
Athens Medical Center said that the family had qualified for financial assistance and they quickly granted it.