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Topic : 12/19 Beyond the Front Lines

Number of Replies: 399
New Messages This Week: 0
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Created on : Thursday, December 11, 2008, 02:55:31 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1
Military men and women are true American heroes who spill their blood fighting for our freedoms. But are we doing all we can as a nation to honor our contract with these warriors? When a soldier survives war, oftentimes he/she comes home and to face a different battle. Dr. Phil's guests are vets who say they've returned from the front lines only to fight a medical system bureaucracy that is failing them. Randy was severely injured during an ambush while deployed in Iraq. His mother, Tammy, says the military lied to him, and used him, and that Randy was eventually lost in the system. She says getting any help from Veterans Affairs is a struggle with minimal results. Dr. Phil introduces this wounded warrior to two special people who want to make his life better. Next, Jerry says he got a "raw deal" when he returned from Iraq, and he's struggling with what he believes to be Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). His wife says Jerry is angry and violent, and she's afraid of him. You won't believe what they say Veterans Affairs advised Jerry to do to cope with his suicidal thoughts. Chairman of the House Committee on Veteran's Affairs, Congressman Bob Filner, and FOX News military analyst Colonel David Hunt passionately share their opinions about health care for veterans. Then, Kevin and Joyce say their son came home from Iraq a changed man. They say they tried to get him help for what they believed was severe PTSD, but it didn't come in time. And, Tammy Duckworth, Director of the Illinois Department of Veteran Affairs and Paul Rieckhoff, Director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, weigh in on the cases. If you're an American, this is your call to arms to step up and help turn things around for the men and women in uniform. Join the discussion.

Find out what happened on the show.

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December 27, 2008, 10:27 pm CST

A Soldier who cares

Quote From: wendy_g

I am the Mom whose son committed suicide after his service in Operation Iraqi Freedom.  I posted his story on 12/22 on this message board.  I have already contacted my congressman and have not received even so much as an acknowledgement.  Does anyone know if we can sue our government for what I believe are criminal acts of negligence?

I am so sorry for your loss and what you had to go through.  I know there are no words to help ease your pain.  As a fellow Soldier, I salute you and your family for the sacrifices you have endured in supporting your Son in his mission.  He gave the ultimate sacrifice and is a Hero as you and your family are too.

 

I myself have just returned from Iraq as a Trauma Nurse and my biggest concern going over there and upon my return is the psychological impact this is having on our young men and women.  I also work in a Military ER as a civilian and come across many Soldiers suffering from PTSD and try my best to encourage them to seek help before a crisis strikes.  I reach out to as many as possible and will never stop.  I consider all my fellow Soldiers my family and will do anything within my power to help.

 

I do not believe you can sue the Gov't, but a strong determined voice will get attention and can bring about change.  Keep writing anyone who will listen.  An investigation can come about and if negligence is found , those who are involved will be held responsible and have to answer for their actions.  I've seen both good and bad people in the Military and affiliated with the Military.  We must take whatever steps necessary to remove those whose conduct is irresponsible.  We must as a Nation protect our returning Soldiers and make sure they get the help they are in need of and in a timely manner.  Change can take place with the start of one strong voice and others will join.

 

The Military is now recognizing that this is becomming a crisis and is implementing programs for returning Soldiers and their families.  I highly encourage you and your family to seek out counseling so this does not destroy you also.

 

Please know that my heart goes out to your family and I am truly sorry for your loss.  I salute your son as a true HERO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 
December 27, 2008, 10:50 pm CST

A fellow Veteran

Quote From: armyman63863

Iraq was a very life changing experience for me. I was in the middle of the worst happenings in iraq when I was there. Many firefights, gory scenes, explosions, and even my hummer was blown up. When I came home alcohol consumed me the first few months I was back in the states. It helped me not remember all the bad things. It took me about 2 years to actually get into the VA and start getting treatment. I have to say that each VA clinic is different. Unfortunantely the one I live close to is terrible in my opinion. Although there are certain people within it who know exactly what to do and are very smart. The VFW is a great orginization to help wounded warriors and va omsbudsmen/seamless transition officers of the VA are the people who know a whole lot about the va and how to get things done. If it werent for them Im not sure I would be here today. It sickens me to sit in front of a va psycholigist who says nothing and stares at the computer screen and then tells me to go to the pharmacy after I tell him i feel like hurting someone and my life isnt going well. Then I just get sent home with a brown bag full of meds that we hope works. I called back in november to make an appointment and they told me well the first opening is Dec. 24, I said is the doctor even going to be there on christmas eve, she responded "well I think so but Im not certain" so I guess we will see. The guy on the Dr. phil show who's wife was scared of him reminds me of myself, about the incident in the garage, last week I encountered a similiar situation, thank god I passed out and my fiancee hid my gun from me. It scares me to even think about it. Now that I have lost my job things are very tough financially but I have started to find a peace in myself being home with my family more. Im afraid of what stress will come when the money runs out, but it may be easier than dealing with the people in a workplace environment, I dont know.
They have a transition program in my area that hold weekly meetings for Veterans and only Veterans.  In these meetings you can relate and don't feel judged and find out that what you are going through is normal.  Others who have gone through what you may be going through and can give you advice on what they found worked and didn't work for them.  Spouses are also able to attend to give them a greater understanding of what their loved one is experiencing and how they can help and also cope with these changes.   Please continue to seek help and not let this destroy you.  As a fellow Soldier I care and don't want to lose any more of my comrads.  Your family also needs counseling to better understand you and understand the changes they are going through.  There are website that can also give help and suggestions (Military OneSource).  I recently returned from Iraq and truly understand and care.  Healing will take time, but you will never forget.  You will just learn coping mechanisms to help you get through the hard times.  Please know that you are not alone and strength comes from asking and accepting help.  God Bless You!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
December 28, 2008, 3:32 pm CST

PTSD... with love from Vietnam...

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder...“An ordinary response to a disorderly situation”.

 

PTSD occurs when the natural response to FIGHT or FLEE from a (usually frightening or dreadful) situation is interrupted.  In the Revolutionary War, returning sailors and soldiers afflicted were said to have “Soldier’s Heart”.

 

World War I servicemen were said to have “Shell Shock”.

 

World War II and Korean War servicemen were said to have “Combat Fatigue”.

 

The Vietnam War gave us PTSS, or “Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome“, now called a “disorder”.

 

Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraqi War returnees have captured the phrase and it appears to have become the Politically Correct term to use.

 

I recently relapsed with Non-Hodgekin's Lymphoma that is service-connected to my tour of duty in Vietnam and exposure to Agent Orange.  Memories and regrets have returned again tenfold and again, there is nowhere to FLEE or to FIGHT outwardly so once again... I (we) turn within. 

 

I recently joined Vietnam Veteran's of America where each month between 20 and 35 of our 65 members meet to discuss our fates, help each other with claims, bring recognition to the community and assist each other in many other ways... including health, shelter, clothing and psychological wellness.

 

PTSD WREAKS among us... and I thought I was "special".

 

Thanks for bringing this to the surface and airing the problem...  The VVA's mission statement captures some of the same sentiment where "Never again will one generation of Veteran's abandon another."  Viet Vets can't relate identically with the modern era Vet but we do know what its like to fight an unpopular war and to be forgotten afterwards.  Today's Vets will need to band together and seek out the services that were guaranteed to them... and let me say now, the VVA is here to help. We have LIVED OUT what you are now experienceing.

 

My best regards... and just some food for thought... here are some Casualty Counts that were published in the Signal newsparer here locally a few years back.  I'm not sure of the accuracy... and also not sure why WWI is missing, but they appear to be pretty close.

 

Tony Natoli

 

 

* In 80 months of the Revolutionary War, there were 10,623 casualties, with 4,435 deaths, or about 55 Americans dying each month of the war.

 

* In 48 months of World War II, there were 1,078,162 American casualties, with 407,316 death, or 6,639 Americans dying in combat each month of the war.

 

* In 37 months of the Korean War, there were 136,935 casualties, with 33,651 deaths, or about 909 Americans dying in combat each month of the war.

 

* In 90 months of the Vietnam War, there were 211, 471 casualties, with 47,369 deaths, or about 526 Americans dying in combat each month of the war.

 

* In one month of the Gulf War, there were 760 casualties, with 293 deaths, or 148 Americans dying in combat during the month of the war.

 

* In 14 months of fighting in Iraq, there were 4,685 casualties, with 803 deaths, or 57 Americans dying in each month of the war.

 

I hope you all remember the true meaning of Memorial Day and keep it in mind as you enjoy the many freedoms most of us take for granted every day.

 

Copyright:The Signal

 
December 28, 2008, 4:06 pm CST

The Pathway Home treats Combat-Related PTSD

The Pathway Home is a non-profit organization put in place because the VA was not doing enough to treat our new warriors with PTSD.  It is located in Napa Valley, California on the grounds of the Veteran's Home in Yountville. It is a wonderful program that just opened in January 2008 and has been very successful in it's first year. The residents pay nothing to live at the program and receive approximately 50 hours of group and individual therapy each week. The program is an average of 90 days long, depending on the veterans individual circumstances.  It is a non-profit, so they are always in need of donations to keep the doors open for years to come.
 
December 28, 2008, 9:04 pm CST

I know how it feels...

     I can not even begin to tell you just how angry I got as I watched the show. I served in the US Navy and even though could not get deployed to Iraq when my ship (USS Porter DDG 78) did, I do sympathized with all the men and women tryiing to get the help, care and assistance of the VA without any answers. You see, I became extremelly ill while in the service, every time I went to the HMC, he would undermind my complaints and just not pay attention to the symptoms. I had to undergo so many tests, procedures, and surgeries that if I was to start mentioning all I would not finish. Finally in 2005 I got medical discharged from the service, diagnosed with chronic illnesses that have no cure, and 50% disabled. When I submitted the paperwork to the VA, I did not get an answer until just 2 weeks ago.

     I'm always in pain, on November 19, 2008 I had yet another surgery, and am undergoing treatment for one of the illnesses, with a private practice because they just wont give me an appointment at the VA hospital.

     Obviously I have to work because as we all know the disability check we received fron the military is not enough, I am divorced with 3 teenagers to take care of. Life is not easy for us, we have to struggle every day to just go out and make it happen so that our children have a roof over their heads and a hot plate on the table.

    We proudly serve our country but when we stop being of use to them then we are forgotten.

 
December 30, 2008, 6:15 am CST

Thank you for your kind words

Quote From: gilady

I am so sorry for your loss and what you had to go through.  I know there are no words to help ease your pain.  As a fellow Soldier, I salute you and your family for the sacrifices you have endured in supporting your Son in his mission.  He gave the ultimate sacrifice and is a Hero as you and your family are too.

 

I myself have just returned from Iraq as a Trauma Nurse and my biggest concern going over there and upon my return is the psychological impact this is having on our young men and women.  I also work in a Military ER as a civilian and come across many Soldiers suffering from PTSD and try my best to encourage them to seek help before a crisis strikes.  I reach out to as many as possible and will never stop.  I consider all my fellow Soldiers my family and will do anything within my power to help.

 

I do not believe you can sue the Gov't, but a strong determined voice will get attention and can bring about change.  Keep writing anyone who will listen.  An investigation can come about and if negligence is found , those who are involved will be held responsible and have to answer for their actions.  I've seen both good and bad people in the Military and affiliated with the Military.  We must take whatever steps necessary to remove those whose conduct is irresponsible.  We must as a Nation protect our returning Soldiers and make sure they get the help they are in need of and in a timely manner.  Change can take place with the start of one strong voice and others will join.

 

The Military is now recognizing that this is becomming a crisis and is implementing programs for returning Soldiers and their families.  I highly encourage you and your family to seek out counseling so this does not destroy you also.

 

Please know that my heart goes out to your family and I am truly sorry for your loss.  I salute your son as a true HERO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement and recognition of my son as a soldier.  God bless you in your quest to heal from the trauma you experienced there as well and for your selflessness in helping your brothers in arms.  As you stated, the more this becomes an issue and the louder we speak, perhaps the government will have no choice but to listen and take action.  My prayer is that not one more Soldier, Sailor or Marine will die outside of combat where a death could have been prevented if the government had just done what they should have been doing a long time ago.  You have my love....always.

 
December 30, 2008, 6:58 pm CST

CHANGE IS NEEDED

Quote From: mabelrose06

this just ticks me off also. i have been dealing with the va for 3 years now and have never been seen. i was in iraq saw my best friend die in my lap after being blown up by an i.e.d. but never have been seen. i know that they are busy with soldiers returning home but 3 years of waiting and calling and calling and calling. but this was a good show to do because people dont understand what we go through when we get home and then there is no one there that is helping they keep pulling our chains and making us wait longer and longer to be seen. and they wonder why we never want to re-up and stay in the military, why should we when we are getting help we deserve. i was diagnosed with mild ptsd when i was in iraq after the accident but i still cant been seen, what the h... i have finally just given up dealing with them for help and am slowley learning to deal with nightmares, re-curring dreams, flashbacks, and just about everything else on my own. my hubby and daughter are my reasons for just dealing with emotions and feelings. but i just dont see while after being diagnosed with ptsd while the va still cant find time to see me. it just bull. thanks for doing the show to show people what we have to deal with everyday fighting the va and than not getting help we need and deserve.

Dr. Phil,

Our military is the heart of our country.  These men and women sacrifice so we can sleep at night.  My father and uncle were in the Navy during the Viet Nam War and I have other family and friends who have and do serve in the military.  Looking back if I had to do things over I believe that I too would have joined the military.  I can imagine the pride and honor that service men and women feel in serving our country.  But then to be ultimately disgarded upon their end of duty is unthinkable.  I've had a desire to do utilize my professional abilities in helping our military folks returning home from war.  I am a licensed professional counselor in the state of South Dakota and have applied with the US Commissioned Corps but was denied application because my masters degree is in mental health counseling, not social work.  The US government doesn't even allow licensed professional counselors to apply for positions within the US Commissioned Corps.  This doesn't make sense to me and infuriates me!  Who better to work with our war heroes needing mental health care than mental health professionals????  People like me want to help but are denied the opportunity.  I thank every single man and woman who puts their life on the line so my family and I can enjoy our freedom.  God Bless Our Troops!

 
December 31, 2008, 12:15 pm CST

How Can I Help?

I am so upset after watching this show. My husband has been going through this with the VA Hospital in Palo Alto, California since 1999.  No Gulf War, No Viet Nam War, No Korean war, but, a 100% service connected disabled man just the same.  The doctors knew of a potentially deadly condition my husband had and they completely ignored it. WE found it by reading all of his test results after quitting the VA and going to a civilian doctor.  We are lucky because we have TriCare insurance as he is retired.  They also pulled all of his teeth out 3 years ago and he never did get dentures. The list goes on and on. He also has a heart condition, high blood pressure, nine ruptured discs in spine, rheumatoid arthritis, etc, etc, etc.  What can I do besides write to my congressman?  Palo Alto VA Hospital is beautiful and has Stanford right next door, but to get any care is a waste of time.  All, and I mean all, appointments are scheduled four times a year no matter how sick you are.  If anyone knows how I can help please contact me. I have no money, but I have a heart and time and a want to fix this messed up system.  donnette2841@gmail.com

 
December 31, 2008, 3:30 pm CST

Help for our Vets

I felt upset that I missed this show.  I am the Mom of a vet that has recently finished his active duty.    I have watched him trying to get things done and make medical appointments.   Most of the time he doesn't get an answer and we have to travel for him to be seen.  I think its terrible that they can not get immediate medical attention if they need it.    It angers me that our vets are treated the way they are and even though they look fine, doesn't mean they are.   The PTSD is there wether we can see it or not.  Thank you for bringing this subject out in the open.   They need for everyone to help them and be there for them.
 
January 2, 2009, 6:10 am CST

What to do beyond the front lines

I have been researching and contacting and talking on the phone to find out where we can go and what we can do to make the changes we need to have made in this arena.  I have been pursuing it from both a legal and legislative perspective and am convinced that the only way we can make any kind of change is to address it from a legislative point of view.  I know there are many before me who have endeavored to make this change and many who are much more educated than I am, however, I am going to pursue it as best as I can.  If you want to help, please contact me at Dandy1998@gmail.com.  I have some concrete steps that we can take now to put it on the agenda of the new administration.  It's time for us to scream and scream LOUD!  It's too late for my son but not for the rest of you.  God bless.
 
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