BARRINGTON, R.I. (WPRI) — James Ryland was drafted into the U.S. Navy just four days after graduating from the University of Rhode Island in 1966.
“I thought it was the smart thing to do,” he recalled.
But it would end up being a decision that nearly cost him his life.
“Well it wasn’t so smart,” he said. “I ended up with prostate cancer.”
The 79-year-old believes that, while aboard his ship in 1969, he was exposed to Agent Orange through the water supply.
It wasn’t just prostate cancer that Ryland developed. He said he also suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and neuropathy, which makes it difficult for him to walk.
Ryland said he’s been receiving home care on Mondays and Thursdays for quite some time now.
“I need somebody here on Mondays because that’s when my trash is picked up,” Ryland explained. “I am unable to bring those barrels in anymore.”
But Ryland claims the certified nursing assistant who is supposed to visit on Mondays hasn’t been consistently showing up.
“I have to go in my wheelchair to bring the barrels in,” he said, adding that it is “nearly impossible” to do alone.
Ryland reached out to 12 Responds regarding the inconsistency in his home care schedule.
“I am angry,” he said. “You know? I am proud I served my country, I really am. I didn’t run away to Canada.”
12 Responds reached out to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs regarding Ryland’s concerns.
“While CNA staffing nationwide is a challenge, we are fully committed to delivering the best quality of care to the veterans we serve,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
Ryland said he’s since been given a consistent schedule for Mondays and was allotted an extra three hours of home care each week.