LIBERTY HILL, Texas (KXAN) — Brad Haukapp took a moment to look around Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Liberty Hill. He served in the Army from 1983 to 1991 and was deployed to Germany. On this day, he stopped at the park on his way home to Goldthwaite to talk to KXAN investigators.
He makes the nearly 100-mile drive weekly to Georgetown for cancer treatment. On this trip, he was getting a scan to see if his chemotherapy treatments had been working.
“It’s an hour and a half drive. I chose to drive there because I worked in Austin for 30 years in the healthcare field. And I feel that the healthcare industry in Austin is a lot more advanced than out where I live. So, I’m willing to make the drive for my health and hopefully beat this thing,” Haukapp explained.
In April, the 57-year-old said he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer.
“It’s in my esophagus. It’s in a lymph node and it’s in my liver,” Haukapp said.
He added he had been getting his treatments at the Austin Cancer Center in Georgetown until recently when he showed up to an appointment with his doctor and found out he wouldn’t be receiving his expected treatment.
“He doesn’t have my chemo medicine. The company is not buying any. I didn’t understand that — didn’t tell me beforehand or anything. So, drove in an hour and a half. Come in, talk to my doctor to find out I’m not gonna get my treatment. So, it was a little upsetting,” Haukapp explained.
Haukapp said the cancer center didn’t have his medication at his next appointment, either. He explained that process went on for weeks, delaying his treatment by a month.
“Well, you know, the longer you delay, the more possibility that the cancer is going to start back up,” he added.
Court filing details dispute
KXAN investigators discovered through court records, the Austin Cancer Center in Georgetown is in the middle of arbitration.
Court documents show a temporary restraining order and temporary injunction were filed over the summer.
The filings detail a dispute between doctors over the direction of the company and wanting to split the practice. One set of doctors claim in the documents that another group of doctors set up a competing company and have taken employees.
“The Individual Defendants’ acts threaten the health and safety of hundreds of Austin-area cancer patients. Plaintiffs have hundreds of appointments with patients who expect to receive treatment,” said one filing.
The filing said the defendants refuse to disclose which employees they’ve taken, adding, “Plaintiffs cannot know whether they have the staff appropriate to handle the care of hundreds of cancer patients.”
KXAN investigators’ calls to the Austin Cancer Center in Georgetown and messages have not been returned along with six emails since late August asking why the cancer center didn’t have chemotherapy medication for some patients.
Last Monday, KXAN also went by the Austin Cancer Center in Georgetown and tried to get a comment but was told the office manager was not there and to leave a written message with contact information. KXAN never received a call or email back after that visit.
KXAN also reached out to the lawyers involved with both sets of doctors.
One of the attorneys said his two doctors have been working diligently and tirelessly to provide care for their patients and because the litigation is pending, they have no further comment at this time.
The attorney for the other doctors involved had no comment by phone or email.
The Travis County District Clerk’s office tells KXAN investigators that no hearing is set yet in the case.
Haukapp’s doctor is affiliated with St. David’s Georgetown Hospital, which is next to the cancer center.
A spokesperson with the hospital group said while he has privileges there, he’s not a staff member so any comments would need to come from the Austin Cancer Center.
Haukapp said he was told by his doctor they didn’t buy his medication because of what’s going on and the split in the practice.
The Army veteran who is a surgical technician has had to find another cancer center for treatment.
“It’s not treating the patient like patient should be treated,” Haukapp said. “You got to deal with the stress and the mental issues and — and the medications and the sickness of dealing with all of that. And then on top of it, then they put you through this for really no reason at all.”