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Lawmakers want investigation into VA care of Broomfield Marine injured in Iraq

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BROOMFIELD, Colo. -- When a 33-year-old veteran jumped off the balcony of his Broomfield apartment and ran off with no shoes and no coat, his family blamed the Veterans Affairs Department for not providing the care he needed.

Now, two U.S. congressmen are calling for an investigation.

Cory Hixson lost an eye during a firefight and suffered a traumatic brain injury from a mortar round while serving with the Marines.

The injuries left the father of two young children with severe memory loss, anxiety, migraines and post-traumatic stress disorder.

His wife, Shala Hixson, says a change in his medication made him act erratically and that he ran away because he was afraid he was a burden on his family.

Cory Hixson was found two days later, in jail in Greeley. The Weld County Sheriff's Office said he had stolen a sweater and something to eat. He still didn't have any shoes.

Shala Hixson said they moved from the Western Slope to the Denver area to be closer to the VA Hospital, but said he didn't get the level of treatment he needs.

"This system is so messed up right now. He's not getting the right medications, he's up and down on his medications and that's what's causing this stuff and he needs help," said Cory Hixson's father-in-law, Steve Halcomb. "All these veterans do, we need to take care of them.”

“It's sad that people go -- they prepare them to go to the war -- but they don't prepare them to come home and they sure don't take care of them when they're home,” Shala Hixson said.

On Tuesday, a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman sent an email stating they were seeking an investigation.

"Just wanted to share with you the attached (call for an investigation) that your report has led Rep. Coffman and Rep. [Jack] Bergman to initiate into the Cory Hixson case," Daniel Bucheli wrote.

"On a personal note, I want to thank you for highlighting this case for us. My brother is in the military and no one who serves our country should have to go through this."

The letter sent to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reads in part: "We write with regard to a press report highlighting the struggle of Marine Veteran Cory Hixson. According to the report, Mr. Hixson began experiencing severe adverse side effects after a change in his medication. We are also concerned that Mr. Hixson's benefits claims have reportedly been pending for the last two years."

The congressmen asked the VA to provide a "full explanation" about the medication he had been prescribed and what follow-up was conducted after his medication was changed. They also asked for a timeline of his benefits claims.

"Further, please explain how the VA will address these issues going forward," the letter states.

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