HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A Marine Corps veteran plans to sell his Hillsborough County home and move to Egypt to get medical care that he claims the Department of Veterans Affairs has denied him.
Helal Hatad, 63, has tried for weeks to get a referral from the VA’s James A. Haley Community Care program to set up an appointment with a civilian specialist to help him with his collapsed airway.
Hatad, from Egypt, is an American citizen and served in the U.S. Marines from 1978 to 1981.
He suffered a major heart attack in 2016. Since then, he has used a tracheostomy tube to help him breathe.
In March, he underwent a procedure at Haley to close the tracheotomy. He claims the following day, while in the hospital, his airway collapsed.
He believes he is being discriminated against by the VA because he is a Muslim.
8 On Your Side reached out to James A. Haley nine days ago asking it to contact Mr. Hatad.