Canadian Korean War vet denied placement in Halifax veterans' hospital
Published Thursday, May 19, 2016 6:55PM EDT
An ailing Canadian military veteran has been denied residency at a Halifax veterans’ hospital for the second time. The reason? He was deployed to South Korea two months after the Korean War ended.
“Five of the ones that went over with his battalion were killed over there,” John Smith’s wife, Eileen, told CTV Atlantic. “They were in harm’s way like any peacekeeper is after a war.”
Smith, an 82-year-old who suffers from an array of physical and neurological issues, was stationed in South Korea from 1953 to 1954. Because he never saw combat in the country, he is not eligible to receive long-term care at Halifax’s Camp Hill veterans’ hospital.
The Korean War lasted from June 1950 to July 1953. More than 26,000 Canadians served in the brutal conflict, fighting North Korean, Chinese and Soviet forces alongside an international coalition overseen by the United Nations. More than 500 Canadians never returned home.
Despite Smith’s 27 years of military service, he is only qualified to receive subsidized homecare. Smith’s wife says that her husband needs the specialized treatment that only a hospital like Camp Hill can provide. The case, she adds, is about more than just her husband – it is about removing rules and technicalities that stand between veterans and the help they deserve.
After the initial rejection, Smith filed an appeal with Veterans Canada. The latest rejection came in the mail several days ago in the shape of a form letter.
Veterans Affairs Canada says that it does not comment on individual cases.
Peter Stoffer, a former Halifax MP and veterans advocate, believes there should be a common sense solution.
“You would think that the government, with some form of compassion would say, ‘the man did serve in Korea.”
With files from CTV Atlantic.