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Topic : 12/19 Beyond the Front Lines

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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 19, 2008, 1:31 pm CST

Our Veterans

Our government hasn't learned anything since Vietnam about the suffering of our veterans coming home from war. At one time I was membership chairman of a local Vietnam Veterans of America chapter and we did collections several times a year to get donations of hygiene products and little things we could use to make gift bags and take them to our local VA hospitals to personally pass out to the veterans. I was appalled at the conditions of the hospital. We knew that if we didn't hand each veteran his gift bag, the nurses would take them. At one of the hospitals for veterans suffering from PTSD and other mental disorders, the veterans seemed to be doped up so they'd be manageable. We used to call it the Thorazine Shuffle as the veterans just walked the halls in a stupor. Our veterans put their lives on the line and come home maimed and worse. They deserve the best medical health care we can give them. They shouldn't have to sit for hours in a waiting room for health care.
 
December 19, 2008, 1:31 pm CST

My husband is a disabled vet

 

My husband is a disabled veteran. He was on orders to serve an indefinite amount of time in Iraq, but after only four months, he came home. His injuries included TB, 2 ruptured disks, and debilitating shin splints. 

 

When his injuries were first documented, he was told that they were not severe enough. He was given a desk job and sent to physical therapy. After a couple of months, without warning, he received notice that he was no longer fit to serve the Army. He was given 30 days notice of discharge. Because we lived in government housing, this notice meant that in 30 days, my family of 6 would be homeless. I was a stay at home mom; our future was very uncertain. 

 

The Army gave us a small severence pay and a handshake for 8 years of service. After leaving the military, we are now fighting the Veteran's Administration. They are no longer paying for the physical therapy recommended by the Army. We have to submit paperwork several times and always keep copies because somehow everything gets "misplaced". Several of pages from my husband's medical records were also missing. We have been appealing their decisions since the discharge in 2005, but we still have not received any updating correspondence. In addition to all of this, they are refusing to pay my husband his disability pay until he pays back the severence pay.

 

Dealing with the VA is a hassel. There is never anyone available to talk to, and although we always have a deadline to meet, the VA does not. They make the process as frustrating as possible, hoping that many of the applicants will forget or just give up.

 

My husband's injuries were bad, but not as bad as the guests on the show. I feel badly that our uniformed men and women are not receiving better treatment after serving our country. They are heros and should be treated as such, reguardless to the extent of their injuries or mental stability.

 

 
December 19, 2008, 1:34 pm CST

My husband a miltary man

Dear Dr Phil

 

 I listened to some of the people that was on your show today and let me say I can hear them women when they say they are afraid about their husbands, My husband also went to Iraq and when he came home he was not the same man that went over there. He is so different that it also scares me, he drinks to not think about what happened over there, he can be nice one minute then in a split second change into someone else, when he went to the hospital almost a year ago they told him he was fine, well to this day he still continues to go to the vet hospital.

 

 With him being over there it has put us in debt because I have Crohn's and Colitis and with the medical bills I have, it has put more pressure on him, he works 2 jobs not to mention that he still goes to his monthly duties for the Army. I also have a job and so what I can to help out.  I just don't know what to do anymore. It has come to the point where I want to just leave my husband but then I feel guilty because he always says well it isn't my fault that I am like this, I hate being here with my husband because it is not just something that happens once in awhile it is something that happens everyday, all the time, he can't even go any where without his mood changing.

 

If there is anything that you can tell me please please let me know, I need some help, I am ready to walk out the door even knowing that my husband needs me, but with my health how do I stay and make my self sicker?

 
December 19, 2008, 1:37 pm CST

So What Can the Public Do??

Everyone seems to want to help but what exactly would help? Writing to our congressmen seems like a waste of time. Any concrete ideas.....tell us....Dep
 
December 19, 2008, 1:40 pm CST

Our Soldiers in Kentucky

i just want to say first how proud i am of our men and women who are overseas serving for what the know is right.  my husband is currently over in afghanistan.  he is due home in march and the state has already planned a briefing for the families on signs to look for and veterans benifits and other very important information.  they have also started just recently in the state of kentucky something called a yellow ribbon program.  this is something manditory for the soldiers and highly recmoneded for the family. they attend them 30, 60, and 90 days out from deployment.  after talking with my husband there are many times when soldiers will withhold information on their personal well being for fear of not being "good" enough.  some of this needs to be put on the soldiers to not feel like they cant ask for help.  that is part of what our yellow ribbon program is going to help with.  there are good stories out there too about veterans who have come home and have gotten the help they need. the system isnt completly a failure!
 
December 19, 2008, 1:41 pm CST

Time For ACTION

This subject of vets heath care has been talked to death!!!!!!!!!!!!!  My High School sweet heart, the father of my children is dead now. But the aftermath of the armys sweeping the PTSS lives on in the broken family, the trauma of the after math of the discharge instead of treatment when he came back from Nam so messed up.  We have been periodicly throwing up our arm in outrage for years. IT IS TIME TO GET OFF THE BAND WAGON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND GET THE SOLUTION IN ACTION. WHEN YOU MIGHT ASK ME---------WELL THERE ARRE TOMANY YESTERDAYS TO COUNT---IT WILL HAVE TO DO TO SAY IT IS LONG OVER DUE AND TODAy is the best we have-so GET IT DONE TODAY------TRAMITIZED OVERWELMED ADULTS CREAT TROMITIZED AND LOST CHILDREN--
 
December 19, 2008, 1:48 pm CST

We Are All Responsible

I don't even know how to respond to anything regarding our Veterans of Foreign War. My words are weak. I am not a veteran and I do not have any living family members who are veterans. My Uncle who faught in Vietnam died more than 25 years ago. I loved him. He was crazy. I didn't know until I was an adult that everything he exuded was a result of Vietnam. I wished to G_d I could talk to him about it. That said, anyone from any war faught on behalf of this country deserves medical care up down and all around without question. Every single doctor in this country should have to treat veterans who walk into their offices. I like the idea of the card that the Colonel on the Dr. Phil show suggested. If this country can produce billions of credit cards a year... they can provide whatever number is needed for our veterans to have free and unquestioned healthcare. I did write to my representative and I quote, "if we ask for the sacrifice of a life, we should not be the ones to slaughter it when it returns safely."
 
December 19, 2008, 1:48 pm CST

Why didn't the Gov. learn the 1st time around

I am embarssed by the way are Government and military are taking care of our soilders. They count the causulties as those killed in combat, but what about all the ones who come home who can't adjust to everyday life?

  My best friends son served not once but twice in action. When he came back no one checked on him to make sure he was assimulating back into society, but they never did. She called me from Florida to let me know, since he lived in the same town. I said I would go over the next day and check on him, unfortunatly by the time we finished talking on the phone she had forgot to give me his address. That was a Friday night, Saturday his friends said he seemed fine (I where the mask all the time). Sunday morning he took the one gun he hadn't  turned in and killed himself, I will never forgive myself, because I never called back and got his phone number and address. He was only 24 years old.

   I feel like we are reliving the results of the Vietnam War. Where is the Gov. and service to help these lost souls.

                         They should be feeling the guilt not me, but I do. I have suffered from Major depression and suicidal tendicies most of my life and I feel my friend thought I could help him, because although I didn't know what he was exactly know what he was suffering, I would be able to see through the mask he was wearing. After about 33  years or more  I should have a clue to seeing the mask.

 

 
December 19, 2008, 1:49 pm CST

I am a veteran

Quote From: medicareagent

Unfortunately your show today hit the nail on the head. I work with people with their Medicare Insurance to find the best financial and health fit for them. Whenever I run across a Vet, I always encourage them to get some supplementary insurance because they can receive extra health coverage at no extra cost. Several reason factor in for the Vet needing more insurance than just VA/Tricare coverage:

 

1. Vet can only go to Vet facilities and doctors

2. Sometimes the Vet providers are very far away

3. Sometime it is a very long and difficult wait to receive needed care.

 

When you look onto the Veteran's website they even encourage that each Vet have extra coverage. When an individual has Medicare Insurance they have the option to pick up additional coverage at no extra cost in most cases. The extra coverage can provide them with the following benefits:

 

1. Greater choice of doctors, hospitals and specialists.

2. Quicker care for the treatment that is needed.

 

Our Vets deserve to receive FULL benefits and UNDENIED access to these benefits. Unfortunately the government is putting a strain on our Vets to receive the needed care that they desperately need.

 

If I can be of assistance to anyone who qualifies for Medicare and VA benefits, please let me know and I will be glad to assist them in finding additional benefits that they can use with their VA benefits. This way they can have a choice in receiving their care in a timely fashion.

 

Sincerely,

Jamie Clark

 

I am a veteran from the Vietnam Era, which was said it was a conflict not a war, but as we all know it definitely was a war.  When I got out of the Army, I was never told about the being able to go to a VA hospital nor was I ever told anything about getting any kind of help   On April 12, 1989, I was in a car accident.  When I woke up I was in a hospital in Miami (Jackson Memorial).  I woke up in ICU and my head had been shaven.  I had no idea where I was nor what had happened.  Not going into the entire story, the medical conditions I was left with are: I don't smell or taste, I have uncontrollable seizures, I have lost all of my long term and short term memory.  I did file for social security and I did get it.  I still didn't know anything about the VA system.  I met someone at the VA hospital where I was sent to take tests for social security because I was a veteran and he told me about the VA and what I could get.  I immediately went to the DAV and applied for all of the services I could get, which wasn't much.  Since I was now disabled and could no longer work, I was told that I should be able to get a non-service connected pension.  Well that didn't happen.  This occured in Detroit. Michigan.  When I took both of my sons and left Michigan, we moved to Billings, MT.  There I contacted a Senator, and he was able to get me what is called a Housebound Pension.  I thought that was fantastic knowing that I would have social security and a pension my two sons and I would be doing just fine.  Until April 12. 2006, I had a very bad seizure which broke my right ankle.  The VA at Fort Harrison did approve for me to have surgery at a private hospital since Fort Harrison, VAMC was too far from me.  Everything was fine, until both my orthopedic surgeon and neurologist wrote a letter to my primary doctor requesting that I be given Aid and Attendance, because there was no way that I would be able to walk on my foot for 6 to 8 weeks.  At the time my young son was 6 years old and my older son was not living at home and I had no one to help me.  This was written in the proper papers requesting Aid and Attendance along with the copies of the letters from the doctors, but my primary care doctor kept refusing me and the request from the doctors.  Therefore, I had no choice but to walk on my foot.  I had no one to come in and help me with the cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping, etc., and the end result is that I had to have 3 more surgeries, where I now no longer have a calf, right ankle and my foot is deformed.  The swelling in my leg and toes and the pain are unreal.  I put in for an Administrative Torte Claim, asking for ten million dollars.  I had hired an attorney, and my mistake was that he didn't know what he was doing, and I didn't know what I needed to do and of course to the happiness of the government they denied my claim.  I had no idea that I had only two years to find another attorney and put in another claim.  As the years have gone by I have had a lot more dealings with the VA system and the things that I heard today are all true.  My younger son and I moved to PA three years ago and I have to be honest when I tell you that I have the best primary doctor in the world.  He is there for all of the veterans and he makes sure that whatever I need I get.  But there are other issues that he has no control over and that is dental.  I have lost all but 5 teeth in my mouth and I have constant infections and open roots, but since I did not get hurt during the Vietnam War I am not intitled to get any dental services.  Unless I want to pay $182.00 dollars for a tooth to be pulled.  I can't afford that.  Oh, I did leave something out.  When I had moved to Florida, there was a social worker at the VAMC in Lake City, and because of her and all of a sudden I was put on Aid and Attendance.  Explain that one.  Back to PA where we live now.  I put in 1151 papers and just this month I was denied.  I was denied for my depression, my teeth and for my leg.  How they could do that I don't understand.  I need help in finding and attorney so that I can go infront of the Rating Board, and show them what was done to me and how my leg is deformed.  What my young son has had to grow through because I wasn't given Aid and Attendance back in 1996 and when I filed the Administrative Torte Claim.  Also, I go to the VAMC in Lebanon, PA and no matter what appointment I have to go too I make sure that my son is always in the room with me, except for when I see my primary doctor and the PA I see for psych.  She is also fantastic.  Here is another bit of information for you.  When I had been assigned to a doctor to see in psych, I saw a man who was either from Iran of India, and I was not comfortable with him and he told me infront of my son that if I didn't talk with him, he would stop my medications.  I couldn't believe what he had said and I got home and called the director of psych, and he assigned me to PA I have now who is absolutely fantastic just like my primary.  I need help and I deserve to have compensation for what was  not done for me and what was done to me.  How do I go about doing that when I can't afford an attorney?  Thank you, for listening too me.  Also, in reference to what the VA said about housing, that isn't true, if you don't have perfect credit they won't finance you.

 
December 19, 2008, 1:53 pm CST

A female veterans story in brief

I served and loved it from 1978 till 1990. The Va used to be a pretty good place to go for care. My dad did for years. I have been service connected since I got medically put out after being exposed to something while stationed at Ft. Detrick MD. I now have 3 valves bad in my heart. fluid on lungs, and liver damage from all the allergy and asthma medications I have been on. I DO NOT DRINK alcohol. Never did. All of a sudden a new doctor comes in and the nurses go through my records delete all my scripts. and try to put me on new cheaper meds that do not work or I tried before and had anaphalaxis to in the past. It is BS. I pay for an inhaler 150.00 a month. the va states it is too expensive to carry. My blood pressure it extremely high and the va provided a home monitor for bp. but the damned narrow minded phyiscan assistant (not even a real doc) refuses to try a med that may work. The metropropanol makes me incapacatated, and I refuse to take it anymore. Not a good med for folks with respiratory problems. other docs have told them that. So now I go unmedicated for most alments, because I have given up. I am too tired to fight it anymore. And just thinking about going to the Johnstown Pa Va Clinic again raises my pressure even more.

The staff there has been trained to denie the veteran as much as they can. They even refuse to give me the requested and required referrals to see a heart doc so I can get on the right meds for blood pressure.

Anyway, life is just not fair and it will never be. Thanks for drawing attention to the needs of the veterans. It is about time someone did.

Recommend all veterans get a copy of all medical records the day of each visit. Do not go home without them.  Remember:  IN GOD WE TRUST ALL OTHERS WE MUST DOCUMENT.

Do not put your trust the people will do the right thing. Because it is not true as much as it should be.

Good luck to all and best wishes for the holidays.

 
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