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Topic : 12/19 Beyond the Front Lines

Number of Replies: 399
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Created on : Thursday, December 11, 2008, 02:55:31 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1
Military men and women are true American heroes who spill their blood fighting for our freedoms. But are we doing all we can as a nation to honor our contract with these warriors? When a soldier survives war, oftentimes he/she comes home and to face a different battle. Dr. Phil's guests are vets who say they've returned from the front lines only to fight a medical system bureaucracy that is failing them. Randy was severely injured during an ambush while deployed in Iraq. His mother, Tammy, says the military lied to him, and used him, and that Randy was eventually lost in the system. She says getting any help from Veterans Affairs is a struggle with minimal results. Dr. Phil introduces this wounded warrior to two special people who want to make his life better. Next, Jerry says he got a "raw deal" when he returned from Iraq, and he's struggling with what he believes to be Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). His wife says Jerry is angry and violent, and she's afraid of him. You won't believe what they say Veterans Affairs advised Jerry to do to cope with his suicidal thoughts. Chairman of the House Committee on Veteran's Affairs, Congressman Bob Filner, and FOX News military analyst Colonel David Hunt passionately share their opinions about health care for veterans. Then, Kevin and Joyce say their son came home from Iraq a changed man. They say they tried to get him help for what they believed was severe PTSD, but it didn't come in time. And, Tammy Duckworth, Director of the Illinois Department of Veteran Affairs and Paul Rieckhoff, Director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, weigh in on the cases. If you're an American, this is your call to arms to step up and help turn things around for the men and women in uniform. Join the discussion.

Find out what happened on the show.

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December 22, 2008, 11:16 pm CST

Coming back from Iraq

Iraq was a very life changing experience for me. I was in the middle of the worst happenings in iraq when I was there. Many firefights, gory scenes, explosions, and even my hummer was blown up. When I came home alcohol consumed me the first few months I was back in the states. It helped me not remember all the bad things. It took me about 2 years to actually get into the VA and start getting treatment. I have to say that each VA clinic is different. Unfortunantely the one I live close to is terrible in my opinion. Although there are certain people within it who know exactly what to do and are very smart. The VFW is a great orginization to help wounded warriors and va omsbudsmen/seamless transition officers of the VA are the people who know a whole lot about the va and how to get things done. If it werent for them Im not sure I would be here today. It sickens me to sit in front of a va psycholigist who says nothing and stares at the computer screen and then tells me to go to the pharmacy after I tell him i feel like hurting someone and my life isnt going well. Then I just get sent home with a brown bag full of meds that we hope works. I called back in november to make an appointment and they told me well the first opening is Dec. 24, I said is the doctor even going to be there on christmas eve, she responded "well I think so but Im not certain" so I guess we will see. The guy on the Dr. phil show who's wife was scared of him reminds me of myself, about the incident in the garage, last week I encountered a similiar situation, thank god I passed out and my fiancee hid my gun from me. It scares me to even think about it. Now that I have lost my job things are very tough financially but I have started to find a peace in myself being home with my family more. Im afraid of what stress will come when the money runs out, but it may be easier than dealing with the people in a workplace environment, I dont know.
December 22, 2008, 11:28 pm CST

Thanks Dr. Phil

I really appreciate you doing a show on this, I just wish that it doesnt fade away in the back of peoples minds and then they start thinking about your next show. I thought to myself after seeing this show, I wish I could distribute this show to everyone in my town and then maybe I could be repected more, just like the soldier on your show said you go from being someone to being nothing.  Maybe its just my way of thinking, maybe its the economy and everyone is concerned about there own family, I know I am. I just pray everything will be ok and that I can raise my family to be happy and successful and not have to see or deal with things I have but at the same time I do not want my family to take after me and be depressed and drawn away from things like I am. I see many movie stars donating to other countries, I do not understand why they are not focusing on the soldiers who make it possible to live such a luxurious life without worry. I wish I could provide a lifestyle like that for my family, all of the finer things for them. I guess thats what all families want though.
December 23, 2008, 5:46 am CST

Thank You

Quote From: wvsheila

My father is a disabled Vet from Vietnam, He was in the heavy stuff over there for the united states Marine corp.  He had skin cancer, heart disease, diabetes (all agent orange related) and he has severe PTSD!!

The ONLY way he finally got the help and relief he earned 1000% over and over was by my ENTIRE family, aunts, uncles, sisters, mom and me hounding our STATE SENATORS REPEATEDLY!!  It can feel very hopeless at times. But the soldiers put their butts on the line for our Country with honor and dignity. They deserve to be taken care of and rewarded WITH HONOR AND DIGNITY and shouldn't be made to feel like charity cases or 2nd class citizens.


In my mind soldiers of ANY branch of the military of our great USA is a super hero and due the utmost dignity and respect, but most importantly, EVERY BENEFIT THEY CAN GET WITHOUT FEELING LIKE A BEGGAR!!!  It's so disgusting to see the abuse of the very men and women who fight for our freedom and way of life!!  GOD BLESS THE USA AND EVERY VETERAN AND TROOP!!!!

I have 2 sons that served in Iraq.  My oldest has PTSD and in the process of being diagnosised  with Brain Trauma Injury (BTI).  My other son may have PTSD.   I just wanted to say thank you for the tip, of everyone repeatedly writing our senators.   I am going to give the information to everyone in our family to start writing!
December 23, 2008, 6:44 am CST

My PTSD from Viet Nam was healed in one session of TAT. At first I couldn't believe it, but since then I have studied TAT and am certified as a Professional and Trainer. TAT is undoubtedly the easiest and most effective way we have encountered to heal P

Quote From: roses4ualways

God Bless Our Troops! Support Our Troops!


I am a veteran, and have been diagnosed with PTSD due to MST (military sexual trauma).  The VA treats this condition terribly.  There are many women (VETERANS) and men (VETERANS) out there who are victims of MST.  This topic always seems to get swept under the carpet and hushed.  Combat veterans are not the only veterans who have PTSD.  This also needs to be addressed. 


A Veteran,


Trying to send you a reply about PTSD  Please go to :

You WILL find the help you need there.
December 23, 2008, 8:33 am CST

Support the Troops

I am very grateful to the Dr. Phil show for this show. I myself am a Disabled Vet and have been fighting our system for 18 years now. I was injured while in the military and have been going to the VA hospital since my injury. It seems like the doctors just throw drugs at us instead of taking care of the problems. It seems like the people running our comp and pension program due as little as possible to help the veterans who really need it. Instead they make us jump through hoops to prove that we really were injured, and then deny or find other things they want us to do prior to making a decision on benifits. For almost two years now I have been waiting for a decision on increased benifits and they always want sommthing more. There needs to be an esier way for veterans to get the care and benifits they need to survive.
December 23, 2008, 8:54 am CST

Beyond the Front Line

Dr. Phil:

Thank you so very much for your show on Friday. I cried through it. I am a mother of a wounded soldier also with PTSD. He too is falling through the cracks. As a parent, I would like to know what I can do to help get the ball rolling to have New York State (his home state) or Oklahoma (his current residence state) pick up the slack similar to how Illinois did it.  My son is fortunate to have a sibling taking him in temporarially; otherwise he would be homeless. He is 1 1/2 hours from a VA hospital. He doesn't get his meds regularly and has been waiting for 3 months to get into a PTSD 6 month program (according to his Reserve people, the paperwork has been accepted)  he's 'waiting' to participate. And yes, he has been sucidal, which prompted a week stay in VA and then sent to his 'home' that no longer existed (he was not allowed to return).


Frustrated is a polite word for the anger I feel. Please keep pressing the issue of our veterans care on your shows.

December 23, 2008, 1:47 pm CST

Veteran's treatment - not surprised

I am not suprised at all that veterans are not receiving the treatment that they are entitled to.  It should be no surprise considering the treatment the veterans received returning from Vietnam and Desert Shield/Desert Storm.  I have a son in the Army and a husband in the Navy.  Both have served one year tours in Iraq.  Both returned safe.  I will not say sound because both suffer from PTSD.  The VA is not the only branch neglecting our service men and women.  It took my son over 2 years before he finally started receiving treatment for his PTSD.  He was afraid to seek treatment because of the stigma and was worried it would end his career. He is infantry and loves the Army and what he does.  He did not want to lose his career.  Even now, some of his superiors do not believe him about things such as his short term memor loss and anger control.  He has been diagnosed with depression and moderate TBI.  My husband will not seek any extra treatment than what he is required to do because of his position.  He is worried that we will lose the orders that we want and that his superiors will lose confidence in him.  He has only been home for 6 months.  Alot of the active duty members are afraid to seek treatment because of that stigma.  It is a shame that Congress does not fire every person in the bureacracy of the VA, make it more efficient and accountable.  They believe they are untouchable so why should they care?  In the meantime, our veterans are paying a steep price...some with their lives when they come home.  The VA should be ashamed of themselves.  My only hope is that President-elect Obama will do something about this.

December 23, 2008, 1:55 pm CST

Pay is low...that's the excuse?!

Quote From: lbonham

Dr. Phil as a nurse that works for the VA system, we take very good care of our Vets, I also have the honor of working in the OIF/OEF clinic . We receive a list of the soldiers coming home we have 30 days to make contact with these vets. A lot don't respond back to get into the system. They get to see mental health, a Dr. with a full physical, A regional VA rep.Here is one problem they don't want to come in because if they are dx. with PTSD it goes in their records and try and get a job, like going into law enforcement. We don't have enough great mental health people that know what they are doing. If the pay was better we would get some of the best but the pay is so low they go other places for work. These National Guards soldiers already have orders for 2010 to go overseas. We had one call and beg for help that he was being sent back to Iraq, and had been dx. with severe PTSD begging for help.

I waited 3 years to get on at the VA as nurse, I come from a long line of vets, I felt it was another way of serving my country. I have enjoyed every min. working with the vets, we can all thank our god that we have men and women willing to put their life on the line to keep us all free. And yes they all should get the best medical care that any lay person on the outside gets.After seeing what I have seen  in the last 6 months, the whole systems needs to be overhauled. Alot are their for a pay check, but there is a lot there who give their all for the Vets.I can say they are the best group of patients I have ever worked with. Thank You for doing the show, please keep this at the for front , every day is Veterans Day.

I have to disagree with you regarding the pay for the Mental Health doctors.  I work at a Naval Health Clinic and there is a VA nearby.  Our health clinic is being combined with this VA to become the James T Lovell Medical Center. Alot of the doctors and nurses from the health clinic have already started working over at the VA Medical Center because the pay is so much better than what they are receiving from GS pay.  To use the excuse that the pay is the reason that the mental health professionals aren't doing their job is unexcusable.
December 23, 2008, 2:05 pm CST

Help for spouses

Dr. Phil,

Thank you for bringing this situation to light.  I would like to add one more thing that needs to be addressed.  When your spouse or child returns from Iraq or Afghanistan, we are given no information on what signs to look for, how to cope, things we might experience or feel.  It is a transition for not only the servicemember but the entire family.  Why is not more being done in regards to this issue?

December 23, 2008, 3:35 pm CST

12/19 Beyond the Front Lines

Dr. Phil,

 I work for an outpatient physical therapy clinic in a little town. Occasionally I see patients that have insurance through the VA. Unfortunately, our veterans only receive maybe 6 visits covered by insurance. Its discouraging, because 6 visits is rarely enough time to help anyone. I think its terrible that that is how we repay not only veterans from Iraq, but from Vietnam, Korea, and WWII. I have patients that have had to drive half way across the state just to get approval to see a local doctor, and then have to get approval to come to our clinic to be treated. The patients I get that have insurance through the VA are some of the nicest and most gracious people to treat.

 What, if anything, can I do to help get our veterans better care?

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