“It’s Not Just Walter Reed”
That’s the title of a new Wash Post article, and I can’t say that it’s surprising. Our nation’s VA hospitals have been neglected for years, and I have first hand experience since my grandfather has had to visit our local one here in Kansas City, MO several times over the past decade.
Sad to say, but it’s an old, dingy place that doesn’t appear to offer the very best medical care…which, by the way, is what our veterans deserve. And I’m talking about the absolute finest care you’d be able to find anywhere…better than the best private hospitals. And oddly enough, the past couple times my gramps has needed an operation he’s been transfered over to private hospitals so they can get they procedure done. The VA here simply doesn’t have the capabilities.
What’s worse is I’ve discovered that Bush is looking to cut funding from the VA’s budget so he can balance his own tax-break laden budget by 2012. Amazing.
Across the country, some military quarters for wounded outpatients are in bad shape, according to interviews, Government Accountability Office reports and transcripts of congressional testimony. The mold, mice and rot of Walter Reed’s Building 18 compose a familiar scenario for many soldiers back from Iraq or Afghanistan who were shipped to their home posts for treatment. Nearly 4,000 outpatients are currently in the military’s Medical Holding or Medical Holdover companies, which oversee the wounded. Soldiers and veterans report bureaucratic disarray similar to Walter Reed’s: indifferent, untrained staff; lost paperwork; medical appointments that drop from the computers; and long waits for consultations.
Sandy Karen was horrified when her 21-year-old son was discharged from the Naval Medical Center in San Diego a few months ago and told to report to the outpatient barracks, only to find the room swarming with fruit flies, trash overflowing and a syringe on the table. “The staff sergeant says, ‘Here are your linens’ to my son, who can’t even stand up,” said Karen, of Brookeville, Md. “This kid has an open wound, and I’m going to put him in a room with fruit flies?” She took her son to a hotel instead.
“My concern is for the others, who don’t have a parent or someone to fight for them,” Karen said. “These are just kids. Who would have ever looked in on my son?”
Here’s the long and short of it. You can’t ask our men and women to risk their lives for our freedom, and then cut funding from the facilities which provide the only way those same men and women can regain some of their emotional and/or physical freedom from the injuries they’ve recieved trying to secure our freedom. And if you do ask that, you’re not only heartless, you also don’t care about those people because your actions don’t match your rhetoric.
I hope Bush takes notice of this glaring disconnect between what he’s saying and what he’s doing, but somehow…