Butler County's great daily newspaper

Vets deserve better


June 29, 2013 Letters to the Editor

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A friend who served 17 1/2 years in the armed forces sustained a back injury while in the Navy. He reinjured his back later while in the Army, rendering him ineligible for a tour in Afghanistan. He received an honorable discharge.

The problem is the military tells my friend the injury is not severe enough to render him disabled and have refused to pay disability.

My friend and many others like him receive their medical care through the Veterans Administration in Butler and Pittsburgh. When they call the VA to report a medical need, they are given the runaround and may finally receive a callback a week or so later. The VA refuses to see them either in a physician’s office or in the emergency room; instead, they are advised to go to Butler Memorial Hospital for emergency treatment or to see a civilian physician.

Then when they seek civilian treatment, they are sent a bill for services VA insurance won’t cover.

If admitted for inpatient treatment, the care is substandard at best. My friend was inpatient at the Oakland VA for a week and never saw a physician; the physician did, however, prescribe the psychiatric druge Trazadone the day before his discharge. Within 72 hours of starting Trazadone my friend could not stand without dizziness, was bumping into walls and suffering tremors.

When the VA at Butler was notified, they dismissed the incident without care. When the Oakland VA was notified, the prescribing physician was unavailable and refused to return a phone call.

Is this the quality of care our men and women in uniform deserve? I think not.

Our veterans dedicated their life without so much as a thought for their own well being. They answered the call when their nation needed them. They sacrificed and labored tirelessly, to defend us with their life if necessary. Our Veterans endured situations most of us cannot even comprehend, and this is the way that our nation repays the debt. It’s a pity and we American people should hang our heads in shame.

Civilians should demand better healthcare for our veterans.

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