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August 21, 2014

Disabled vet speaks on VA medical care

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Posted: Friday, June 6, 2014 1:19 am

Editor, The Daily Home:

How could anyone in America not notice the irony of our times when as we recently honored our veterans with Memorial Day, that our media is riddled around the clock with the horror stories of our veterans dying by the dozens while trying to use the VA Medical communities for their care. We learned that the investigation has expanded to 45 VA Medical facilities around the nation. Even the VA Inspector General has acknowledged that hospital staff manipulated waiting lists, denying terminal ill vets care to meet bonus quotas (an investigator picked by the VA from its own ranks).

As a veteran who has used and experienced bitter VA treatment or lack thereof, I can speak first hand on this issue. A few years back, suffering from serious heart disease, I sought VA care due to a gap in my employer coverage. Following VA procedure and instructions, I took off work three separate days driving to the Birmingham VA hospital trying to get an appointment. I recall sitting in the ER waiting area all day waiting to be given an appointment and watching in concern as a vet lay on a gurney near me - ALL DAY LONG! Not once did anyone attend to him and he remained there late in the day when I was told to leave and come back another day - again,without my appointment. I was near giving up after several weeks when I was finally seen. During my several months of VA visits, I continuously asked personnel who attended me if they were veterans. I have yet to find one who served their country despite being surrounded by homeless, unemployed vets in the waiting areas

My defining moment at the VA came when the physician informed me that they were changing my heart medication from Coreg to a much cheaper drug. When I asked why, he responded, “.... because it is more cost effective for the VA”! When I was prescribed Coreg, the cardiologist told my wife and I that while it was in the experimental stage, had the trial not been successful, the death rate for my condition was virtually 100 percent within two years. Yet, this seemed to be unimportant to the VA doctors. I never returned to VA care and two months later I had six heart bypasses.

The people of this country, especially the politicians, should hang their heads in shame for the disgraceful treatment of our veterans. We are not “throw away” citizens! We still count and VOTE!

James W. Anderson

Talladega

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