10 July 2008

Warning to the American people,
Don't let your Sons and Daughters sign up for the Army, GW Bush and John McCain won't pay to take care of them.
The American Government send them in at any cost, but will do anything not to spend money on them when they need it most. The truth of the American Army's injured. Read this!!!
best regards,
Latif Yahia

VA Crisis: 20 medical stories that reveal how the gov’t REALLY feels about its soldiers.

For the past four years, over 30,000 U.S
. soldiers have returned home from fighting in Iraq wounded. Promised state-of-the-art medical care and assistance transitioning back to their previous lives, many soldiers are finding that the government isn’t holding up on its end of the bargain. The ill-managed Veterans Administration system has some soldiers tied up for months in a deep web of red tape and unaccountability that prevents many from receiving the benefits they’re owed. These are just a few stories that indicate the government’s true ability and willingness to take care of our veterans returning from Iraq.

1. Sending the wounded back to war: Several wounded troops from a military medical facility in Ft. Benning, Ga., were sent back into combat despite still showing symptoms of their conditions, raising questions about much recovery time the military is allowing soldiers while under pressure to keep soldier population in Iraq high. One female was redeployed despite having significant spinal damage and being unable to carry gear.

2. Withholding pay from the wounded: Army Staff Sgt. Eugene Simpson was walking down a road in Iraq when a car bomb exploded just feet away. Shrapnel ripped through his back and into his spine, paralyzing him. He returned home for treatment and while he was in the hospital his wife called to tell him she had no money to pay the bills. For four months, and without warning, the Army’s messy bureaucracy withheld pay from Simpson, saying he owed them money from a combat duty bonus they neglected to cancel. He was not even aware he was receiving it.
Purple HeartThe overwhelming evidence of sub-standard care provided wounded Veterans is a better indicator than rhetoric of the government’s respect for its soldiers.

3. False Diagnoses: In the past six years, the military has released more than 22,000 wounded soldiers from service for having a “personality disorder”, according to reporter Joshua Kors. This diagnosis is often inaccurate, but is used frequently because the government doesn’t have to cover medical costs for individuals with personality disorders. Kors’ research found that money saved on these veterans will save the government $12 billion over the course of their lifetimes.

4. Medical Benefits Denied: A soldier profiled by Kors in The Nation, Town was injured when a rocket slammed into a wall inches above his head, shooting shrapnel into his neck. The shrapnel was removed, but he is now partially deaf and has significant memory loss. The military told him his wounds were caused by a personality disorder, not the rocket. His medical benefits were denied, and he is now fighting the government for coverage.

5. Government Accountability Office: In 2006, the GAO issued this report that concluded that the government has failed the test of taking care of the wounded when they return from war. It estimates that nearly 900 critically wounded soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan have gone into government debt through no fault of their own.

6. Ryan Kelly: One of the more highly publicized veterans, Ryan Kelly lost his leg in Iraq in 2003. While still in recovery, he was receiving letters from the military threatening to ruin his credit. Unbeknownst to him, he was overpaid $2,200, and the government cut his pay and benefits until he paid it back.

7. Overloading the system: Mark Benjamin, the investigations editor at UPI, reports that the military is discharging wounded soldiers at an increased rate, transferring their continued medical care to the Veterans Administration. This phenomenon is overloading the V.A. system, making it less able to deliver quality care and deliver adequate treatment.

8. Medical Hold: Many wounded soldiers are encountering long waits – sometimes months – for doctors’ appointments. The soldiers,
described by the government to be on “medical hold,” are often made to wait out this period in run-down military barracks; some are redeployed before they can see a doctor.

9. Immediate Treatment Denied: Jonathan Schulze, an Iraq veteran from Minnesota, fought depression, violent outbursts, and a desire to die after he returned wounded from Iraq. When he went to the closest V.A. hospital in his home state, he was denied immediate admission and listed 26th on a wait list for an opening in a 12-bed facility. Four days later, he killed himself. He is not the only veteran to commit suicide due to untreated mental illnesses resulting from injuries.

10. Depression, Anger, and Insomnia: In one Boston Globe poll, 58 percent of veterans reported having nightmares and insomnia since their return; 59 percent reported uncontrollable anger; 58 percent reported depression; and 62 percent reported have some level of mental health problems.

11. No Rural Access for Treatment: Many veterans from rural areas are having significant problems accessing care nearby their residences, and then discovering long waits after driving hours to reach a V.A. Hospital. One couple from North Carolina even relocated to Massachusetts, quitting their jobs and leaving their home, just to be close to a treatment facility that specializes in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

12. Conditions requiring special treatment: Many veterans and their families say the government system is not able to adequately treat certain mental illnesses and are seeking more expert care. Some, like veteran Vincent Mannion, who, like 3,000 other veterans, has been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury, are fighting to get coverage extended to include treatment at private facilities.

13. Suicide: A CBS investigation found that the suicide rate for veterans of the Iraq war is more than twice that for Americans who didn’t serve in the war. Some have even called it an epidemic, saying that many soldiers are returning home to find they can’t win the battles waging in their psyches. Diana Henderson’s son, Derek, served three tours of combat duty in Iraq, only to return home and later commit suicide by jumping off a bridge.

14. Ineffective enforcement of laws to protect veterans: It is predicted that government health costs for Iraq veterans will total $650 billion in the long run. Especially troubling for the V.A. is the fact that many veterans and reservists are returning home to find their jobs cut, their health insurance curtailed, and their pensions gone, despite a federal law and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act, which were enacted to keep this from happening. The laws have failed largely because there is no single government entity overseeing or enforcing them.

15. Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome: PTSD is thought to affect at least one out of every three Iraq War veterans. However, the Government Accountability Office has predicted many crises for the V.A. in treating this disorder. One GAO report questioned whether the V.A. was adequately screening veterans for the disorder and whether veterans were receiving medical referrals after diagnosis. It also questioned the V.A.’s ability to plan for and handle the continued increase of PTSD patients.

16. Complicated wounds: Many physicians have attested to the fact that the wounds sustained by soldiers in the Iraq war are usually much more complicated than traditional war wounds and require long, difficult surgeries and treatments, due to the high risk for direct injury by car bombs, chemicals, and other new forms of warfare.

17. Psychological damage: The Pentagon reports that 35 percent of Iraq veterans seek mental health care, and it’s estimated that even more have psychological disorders and aren’t seeking treatment. Veteran advocates want to see increased government spending dedicated to mental health treatments and are doubtful that the V.A. can handle the issue at its current funding level.

18. Lawsuits: This summer, Iraq veterans sued VA Secretary Jim Nicholson for denying them health coverage, treatment, and disability pay.

19. Inability to care for other veterans: As the Iraq War continues to take its toll on soldiers, veterans of previous wars face insecurities about their own benefits. When veterans turn 65, they are entitled to free health benefits. But as costs for the VA increase, these benefits will likely be in jeopardy.

20. Jon Walter Reed Hospital: Hailed as the premiere military hospital in the country, Walter Reed Hospital, located five miles from the White House, is in a state of disarray, according to this Washington Post report and has been the subject of much media scrutiny in recent months. According to the article, the hospital is run-down and overcrowded and navigating the disorganized administration is proving to be almost as big of a battle as what some veterans faced overseas.

The V.A.’s ability to adequately treat and assist wounded veterans is beyond highly questionable. Most of the evidence points to one conclusion: Soldiers wounded in battle are sure to keep fighting for their lives once they return home.