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Tell It Like It Is

Moving Further Into The Wounded Warrior Maze

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Thomas Segel is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or

March 1, 2012 | 1,997 views | 4 comments

Harlingen, Texas, February 29, 2012: The number of charities, both good and bad, that support our men and women wounded in combat were previously examined. The question as to when military medical care ended and when the VA healthcare system took over was not answered. It is a subject where information is very hard to obtain. It is even difficult to identify an exact count on casualties that need treatment or the total number of military personnel wounded in action.

The site has our current casualty count at “More than 100,000 WIA men and women”. lists American WIA as 32,200 at the end of September 2011. The Department of Defense official site shows that as of February 28, 2012 there were 31,922 WIA in Iraq and 15,415 WIA in Afghanistan. lists a total of 32,799 WIA at the end of January 2012. If the always inflated numbers of the anti-war crowd are tossed out as worthless, most people would agree American wounded in action casualties are somewhere in the range of 32,000 to 48,000 as of now. Though most government officials might write that off to “the fog of war”, it could also be charged that government sources never have been able to get their facts straight and have released conflicting information to various organizations seeking the actual numbers.

Should you wish to be even further confused, The Congressional Research Service published a report on September 7, 2010 that as the direct result of combat in our two wars, there have been 198,876 Brain Injuries and 66,935 military personnel with Post Traumatic Stress Disorders. But, how can this be when we have only had somewhere between 32,00 and 48,000 combat casualties? These mixed up numbers sort of lend themselves to the old mantra “Figures lie and liars figure”.

Previously it was reported that the Department of Veterans Affairs claims to have provided medical treatment to 508,152 veterans who received wounds in either Iraq or Afghanistan. Since we know government agencies play fast and loose with numbers and these numbers exceed total casualties more than tenfold, it can be estimated that the VA have logged that number when viewing the total visits to its facilities. It is well known that those in an outpatient status require multiple medical visits.

It is the huge number of wounded warriors reported to have received or are in the process of receiving medical care from the VA that are of great concern to this columnist. It is no secret that we list the VA among our least favorite of government agencies. Our concerns about the VA providing continuing care for our disabled veterans can better be clarified by examining the case of a single soldier.

Sergeant Major Anthony R. Nathe, United States Army (Retired) makes his home in St.Cloud, Minnesota. He is the Immediate Past President of the Uniformed Services Disabled Retirees. Joining the disabled retired ranks following a 27-year career that ended following Operation Desert Storm, the majority of Tony’s medical treatment has been provided by the VA. He chalks up most of his medical experiences to “just another one of the government’s many false promises.” But, you should hear the story in the Sergeant Major’s own words.

“During the past 15 years I have never seen a doctor for medical care. It is always a PA (Physician Assistant) or RN (Registered Nurse). Medications are frequently changed without consulting the patient, simply because one drug is cheaper than another. Forget the adverse results to the patient.

“Within the past four years I have had two major negative medical reactions to these drugs. In one case it caused partial blindness in one eye. As of now, I have not even received an apology. Over two years later they have still not been able to fix my vision.

“The majority of my 20 to 30 appointments a year are spent with less than 5 minutes seeing a provider. Tests, waiting and drugs are all they really know how to do extremely well.”

Sergeant Major Nathe also notes that in the past 15 years, his VA medical facility has doubled the number of employees, but still has less than 10% of its staff made up of veterans or military retirees. Perhaps if they had more former military service personnel with the VA ranks, there would be more understanding, compassion, and better medical care.

Semper Fidelis
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Your Opinions and Comments

November 13, 2012 9:49am
John Bury.....From the studies that I have read, the mortality rate for Vietnam veterans is only about 7% percent greater that non Vietnam veterans. The study shows that the greatest difference occurs in the first five years ... More ›

John Bury  
Media, Pa  
November 11, 2012 7:56am
Pass Legislation For the Agent Orange Equity Act With the elections over, the new Congress and Senate will have their first session in early 2013. They will be faced with many issues, some old, some new. It is time for ... More ›

John Bury  
Media, Pa  
May 10, 2012 9:29am
There are many kinds of wounded warriors of all wars. Loss of limb, loss of sight, Post Tramatic Stress Disorder. What about the Vietnam veterans? A war most forgotten. These veterans are the forgotten. Nearly 3 million ... More ›

Elaine K.  
March 1, 2012 3:18pm
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