Beyond the Front Lines: Congressman, Iraq Star Foundation

The Truth Revealed

Dr. Phil introduces the Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, Congressman Bob Filner, whose committee oversees the Department of Veterans' Affairs. He asks Bob, "What's going on here? Is this an isolated anecdotal situation, or is this widespread?"

"Unfortunately, it's widespread," he replies, explaining that the VA was not prepared for the aftermath of the war. "When the President says, ‘Support troops, support the troops,' unfortunately, when they come home many of them, like Randy, are on their own. We've had incidents, for example, of PTSD team leaders telling their people, ‘Stop diagnosing PTSD. We can't afford it. It costs too much. Diagnose something else.' That is a crime, and that's been committed by our own VA."

 

Dr. Phil is shocked.

 

"It's worse than that, Dr. Phil," he says. "We've had misdiagnosis of PTSD as personality disorder, because personality disorder is preexisting. Therefore, we don't have to take care of you." He describes cases in which a veteran having suicidal thoughts has gone to the hospital and learned he would have to wait five or six weeks to be seen. "They go home and commit suicide."

"Can you not jerk a knot in these people's tails?" Dr. Phil asks Congressman Filner. "Do we need more money? Do we need more people?"

The Congressman says it's hard to get accurate information from the VA, because the administrators lie to his committee. "In the last two years, we have increased their budget, especially in mental health, almost 40 percent, which is unprecedented. So we give them the resources. The question is, how do they use them?" he says. "If they want to cover up, they can cover up. We've had shredding of documents reported for claims. We've had backdating of things. We've had covering up suicide statistics, and we say, ‘Fire those people,' but we don't have the authority to fire them, only the executive branch does."

 

Dr. Phil can't believe what he's hearing. "That enrages me," he says. "I am not proud of what's happening there."

"What you are doing here today, Dr. Phil, is absolutely vital," Congressman Filner says. "The American people assume we are taking care of our kids, because it's their government. We are not."

Dr. Phil returns his attention to his previous guest, Randy, and he introduces Maggie Lockridge from the Iraq Star Foundation and Dr. Michael Groth. "Tell me what y'all do," he says.

Maggie addresses Randy. "Iraq Star's mission is not to let the Iraq or Afghanistan wars permanently disfigure young lives," she says, explaining that there are 183 board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeons ready and willing to help veterans. "Dr. Michael Groth is one of our finest ophthalmologic surgeons in this entire country, and the reason we're here is because we're going to very proudly provide you with the reconstructive surgery on your eye that you need."

Randy and Tammy smile with joy and shed tears.

Dr. Phil points out that Randy will most likely need multiple surgeries, and the Iraq Star Foundation will provide all expenses for the surgery, travel, lodging and care.

"You have no idea how much this means to us," Tammy says.