The veterans that fight for our country are the definition of a true hero. They deserve better care and more attention because they are going out on the battlefields and risking their lives for each and every one of us in this country and the V.A. hospitals are giving them in return extremely bad care. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs states it is a proven fact:
Almost all service members will have reactions after returning from deployment. These behaviors and feelings are normal, especially during the first weeks at home. Despite the challenges of reintegration, most service members will successfully readjust with few problems. However, seeking solutions to problems is a sign of strength.
They should not have to wait several months to receive care, especially if they are in critical conditions which most of them are. A doctor states to the Daily Beast, “ Veterans with serious heart conditions, gangrene, and even brain tumors waited months for care at the Albuquerque VA hospital” (Siegel). This proves the reality of the situation and how critical it can be for each of the veterans if this keeps on happening. It does not only affect the veterans themselves but also the families that have to suffer through seeing their loved ones not receive the adequate care they are seeking.
Army staff sergeant, Dan Shannon and his family are an example of many of the victims of the awful care provided by the V.A. hospitals. He was hit in the eye by an AK-47 on November 13th and was transported to the Walter Reed V.A. Hospital, but nine days later he was discharged into outpatient status and was left on his own with just a map. While trying to get to his wife for two hours with just a hospital robe and his head bandaged up, he slid down brick walls and struggled to find something to hold onto before he fell once again. “After an initial series of appointments he was left on his own until he managed to track down the nurse assigned to oversee his care...that took weeks” (Bronstein and Griffin). They moved about three hours away from Walter Reed and were waiting for Dan’s retirement paperwork to go through but then his wife received a phone call on a Sunday night at eight o’clock saying he had to report to formation the next morning. She claimed he was on terminal leave and the response she got was “No we lost his paperwork it has got to be restarted so he has to report to formation because he is no longer on terminal leave,” The response to the horrifying news they had just gotten was, “If they have lost me after all the exposure that I have had in the media and after my congressional testimony then how are they taking care of anybody else?” (Bronstein and Griffin). After finally receiving a call back from the nurses, Mrs. Shannon had to tell them they were too late because Dan had already passed away.
Bronstein and Griffin state, “At least 40 U.S. veterans died waiting for appointments at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system, many of whom were placed on a secret waiting list.” This is not acceptable for the system we have in the United States of America and it is not fair to the families out there that have to suffer through all of this and more. For the families that do not have people in the military, these reports would broaden their eyes into seeing the corrupt disasters these hospitals are putting the veterans through. It may make them reflect on the fact that, that might be their son out there getting treated poorly and how they would feel in that situation. Through CNN, Griffin and Bronstein came to the conclusion “The secret list was part of an elaborate scheme designed by Veterans Affairs managers in Phoenix who were trying to hide that 1,400 to 1,600 sick veterans were forced to wait months to see a doctor, according to a recently retired top VA doctor and several high-level sources.” For about six months after they revealed this information, CNN has been reporting veteran deaths that occur from extended delays in health care appointments.
Veterans have decided to give their testimonies on V.A. treatment they have experienced. “Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki faced tough questions from a Senate panel Thursday about the state of his department after allegations that some VA health clinics have cooked their books to cover up treatment delays” (Hick). It was revealed in 2012, several patients have died from mismanagement at the Atlantic Clinic because the clinic would falsify records stating they saw patients within the required fourteen day period. The U.S. Department of Federal Affairs provides a video of returning veterans which shows the sad truth about it all. By this departments getting involved in the issue, it helps bring out the credibility of it all and attracts more audience members to be concerned about the issue by assuming it could be their son out there getting treated poorly after returning from war. The book Returning From The War On Terrorism by Bruce C. Brown, talks about a soldier and his defects he has after he comes home from the war. He gets treated differently and he does not fit into society because he has been so affected by the war and what he has seen while he was there. It discusses the different mental diseases the veterans get and how the V.A hospitals still do not care to treat them as soon as possible. Every soldier has a story behind their mental disease they might have and they do not deserve to receive bad care. Not only do the V.A. hospitals not give them adequate treatment, but they also provide them with rooms filled with mice and mold on the walls. The biggest question about all of this is what will the government do about this issue?
In 2002, George W. Bush stated he was going to fix all of these allegations brought up to his attention about health delays but he ended up doing nothing. Once the re-election happened and Barack Obama got elected President, he claimed he would put an end to all of this. The exact words spoken from Obama, according to Josh Hicks, were:
I believe that if somebody has served our nation then they have to get the benefits and services that they have earned, and my budgets have consistently reflected that. That’s why we’ve resourced the Veterans Affairs office more in terms of increases than any other department or agency in my government.
It was claimed by The Daily Caller on June 12, 2014, “The Obama administration knew about allegations of secret waiting lists at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as early as 2010.” The point made by the information provided is the government is not doing enough to help our veterans. If more people are concerned about the issue, then the government would have no other choice than to take immediate action. The government claims that their number one priority are the veterans but they do not show it through their actions they are taking in office. By the government getting involved in this situation, it would lower the statistics for awful care provided by V.A, hospitals. The administrations from the hospitals would be required to stop putting veterans on the secret waiting lists, and this would definitely drop the death rates for returning war veterans. Not only would it benefit the veterans themselves and their families, but it would also benefit the country as a whole.
I can see why the V.A. hospitals are forced to make the decision of having a secret waiting list. They are under so much pressure to meet all the regulations that are required from them that they start to believe their only way out of it would be to lie and that is where the secret waiting lists fall into place. The pressure still does not justify the actions that have been taken by the administration at the hospitals. They are immediately putting other lives at risk and do not seem to care much about the patients themselves. It should be a moral aspect to feel guilty for what they are doing and finally realize that they are doing bad deeds that result in death and other families hurting inside.
The true heroes of this country are slowly being forgotten and the article Looking Out For Iraq Veterans and Their Kin explains how the veterans do not get praised for what they do. This site helps acknowledge the fact that most people now are forgetting about the war veterans and that is one of the reasons why the problem has came to be them getting treated poorly (Bedard, Paul; Boser, Ulrich; Cannon, Angie; Omestead, Thomas). We have forgotten our heroes that are fighting our wars for us because it is not put out enough onto the media. The only way that we remember them is when something bad happens and it is not suppose to be that way. We are suppose to always be united as a country and that is not currently happening. We need to fix this before the problem gets bigger than it already is. The audience will have the urgency to reach out to those families that are suffering through this and help them put a stop to it.
A cartoon published by Casey Research on 27 May 2014 shows a man standing at a grave in front of a tombstone which says, “Never Forget”. He is holding the V.A. waiting list scandal and in his mind says, “They forgot.” This is such an intense image because of the fact that it is true and it is affecting so many people. The image truly shows the reality of the situation and the face expression on the old man represents the families and how they are feeling as well about all of these deaths. Although it is an extremely powerful image, the problem is still present that it is on a website where most people will not be able to reach it. The reason the hospitals are getting away with what their health delays are is because not enough people are informed of what is occurring. If the government was to do a national broadcast on this issue, it would be more well known and people would be more careful on where they go for care until this problem gets fixed.
In conclusion, the V.A. scandal is a more serious issue that should be fixed immediately because of the physical and mental damage it is causing the veterans and their families. Just because the administrations from the different hospitals are afraid of the outcome if they do not regulate their numbers, does not give them the right to put other peoples lives on the line and on certain occasions cause the death of the veterans. They are the real problem and the ones that are to be held responsible for what is happening to those poor veterans after returning from the war severely injured. The government sees the veterans as a first priority but does not necessarily show it in this case specifically. Agreeing with the government’s words, the veterans should be treated as a first priority especially when they are coming back from the war and are in serious conditions. Even if they are not severely injured, they should still be cared for adequately because they are the ones that are going to war and risking their lives to save us all and the hospitals are actually taking their lives away in return. That is not a fair response to all the effort they are putting into their service to this country. Actions by the people and the government need to be taken immediately in order to save our veterans before they are forgotten.
Hicks, Josh. “A Guide To The V.A Healthcare Controversy.” The Washington Post. 15 May. Web. 09 December 2014. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal_government/a-guide-to-the-va-health-care-controversy/2014/05/15/0a0c7f04-dc6d-11e3-8009-71de85b9c527_story.html>
Veterans Affairs Secretary, Eric K. Shinseki was a four-star retired Army general. The main thing that caught my attention was that it was a primary source and he decided to quit his job instead of trying to solve the problem with the allegations. The Senate Veterans Affair Committee ordered him to testify his knowledge from reported health delays. This will help the audience learn more about the issue and proves that there really are health delays occurring in these V.A. hospitals. Not only will it open the eyes of the people, but also it will show the government what is really going on. It will make them reflect on if they are doing their part as a system and putting a stop to all of these allegations. They are currently not doing enough to save the innocent people who died because it just keeps happening.
Brown, Bruce C. Returning From The War On Terrorism. Ocala Florida: Atlanta Publishing
Book, Inc, 2008. Book.
This book talks about what the veterans in this country are entitled to and shows how they can get some of those benefits. It is interesting to see all the different benefits them and their families can receive from having a veteran in their family. Although, they receive benefits this still does not bring their loved ones back. It makes the audience of the book realize that the veterans are known as heroes to our country and they deserve the best that we can give to them. By the allegations of the secret waiting lists at the V.A. hospitals, this is not showing what they should truly be rewarded with. We need to remember the people that served for our country and not make them to what are known to be forgotten heroes.
Siegal, Jacob. Exclusive: V.A. Scandal Hits New Hospital. The Daily Beast. 18 May 2014. Web. 10 December 2014.
This talks more about veterans with serious heart conditions, gangrene, and even brain tumors who waited months for care at Albuquerque. All of these different diseases caught my attention because it states that they have not been treated and most of these are serious. This will show the audience the seriousness of the problem and will prove the VA hospitals are the cause for the deaths of the veterans. By the audience seeing that the V.A. officials are destroying records to cover their tracks, it will make them want to read more about it and see how this problem may be fixed for the future. They may want to help or make a report on it which will inform more people about the issue.
U.S. Departments of Veterans Affairs. Returning Veteran. Mental Health. 2 January 2014. Web. 09 December 2014. <http://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/returningservicevets.asp>
This article states that most of the veterans coming home are going to have some kind of mental disease due to the things they have seen while they were at war. It encourages veterans coming back from the war to not hesitate on seeking for help because they think they might not need it or they are too afraid to reach out for it. These are really good ideas that families can take into consideration and apply to them or the war veterans from their families. By doing so, the V.A. hospitals need to be fixed and they will realize that when they are trying to seek for help. This will push the government into having to resolve this problem that has been happening since 2002. Seeing this date amazes me because it has been thirteen years since the allegations of health delays were brought up and nothing has been done about it still to this day. The government says it is a priority but they do not treat it as one.
Bedard, Paul; Boser, Ulrich; Cannon, Angie; Omestead, Thomas. Looking Out For Iraq Veterans and Their Kin. EBSCO. U.S. News and World Report. 22 November 2014. Web. 09 December 2014.
This site helps acknowledge the fact that most people now are forgetting about the war veterans and that is one of the reasons why the problem has came to be them getting treated poorly. We have forgotten our heroes that are fighting our wars for us because it is not put out enough onto the media. The only way that we remember them is when something bad happens and it is not suppose to be that way. We are suppose to always be united as a country and that is not happening. We need to fix this before the problem gets bigger than it already is. The audience will have the urgency to reach out to those families that are suffering through this and help them put a stop to it. The purpose for this site is to remind the people of our country of all the amazing things our veterans do for us and they should be recognized for it.
Howley, Patrick. “Obama Administration Knew About VA’s Secret Wait List For Years.” The Daily Caller. 12 June 2014. Web. 10 January 2015. <http://dailycaller.com/2014/06/12/obama-administration-knew-about-vas-secret-wait-lists-for-years/>
This website states the date the Obama Administration knew about the secret waiting lists as 2010. It also gives the story of Eric Shinseki, who resigned from office about a month ago because it was brought to his attention to help fix these problems and his decision to get out of doing so was to resign. Reviews had been conducted since 2010 when Shinseki had found the secret waiting lists. The audience will take this issue in a more serious manner because of the two government officials speaking. By learning that Shinseki resigned in order to not deal with the allegations shows a lot about him and the issue itself. It shows how complicated it is and how no one wants to deal with it.
Bronstein Scott; Griffin, Drew. “A Fatal Wait: Veterans Languish and Die On A VA Hospital’s Waiting List.” CNN. 23 April 2014. Web. 10 December 2014. <http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/23/health/veterans-dying-health-care-delays/>
The statistics found on this website are astonishing. It states 1,400-1,600 sick veterans were forced to wait months to receive care. By the audience seeing these numbers they will be surprised and it will make them angry inside to see the hospitals are letting most of these sick veterans die because they do not give them adequate care. The purpose of this website is to show the audience the reality of the situation and a story of a man who had to suffer through the health delays. There is a video on the website showing his story and how it resulted in having to wait months for care. The hospitals are required to see patients within fourteen to thirty days and the way they are hiding that is by creating the secret waiting lists.
Common Sense Evaluation. "Never Forget." Common Sense Evaluation. Gags, 26 May 2014. Web. 10 Jan. 2015. <http://www.commonsenseevaluation.com/tag/scandal/page/2/#sthash.BNDFQqXo.dpbs>.
This cartoon really caught my attention because of the way it was put together. It has a man in a grave standing in front of a tombstone which says, “Never Forget.” He is holding the V.A. waiting list scandal and in his mind says, “They forgot.” This is such an intense image because of the fact that it is true and it is affecting so many people. The image truly shows the reality of the situation and the face expression on the old man represents the families and how they are feeling as well about all of these deaths. Although it is an extremely powerful image, the problem is still present that it is on a website where most people will not be able to reach it.
Hicks, Josh. "Obama Faces Questions about ‘secret Waiting List’ at Phoenix VA Hospital." Washington Post. The Washington Post, 28 Apr. 2014. Web. 17 Dec. 2014. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2014/04/28/obama-faces-questions-about-secret-waiting-list-at-phoenix-va-hospital/>.
This website is interesting because it states words coming right out of President Obama himself. One of the things he states about the V.A. hospitals is, “I believe that if somebody has served our nation then they have to get the benefits and services that they have earned, and my budgets have consistently reflected that.” The president is coming into the issue but still has not done much about it. The hospitals are starting to prepare themselves by creating secret waiting lists, which is just making the problem even worse than it already is with the health delays. By the president being the one to state the allegations brought to him, the people will put more importance to the issue and will know that it is not just a rumor.