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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 23, 2008, 5:25 pm CST

Mom of 2 in military

I am the mom of one vet and another who is a careerist since before the war started. My vet is now receiving disability from VA for PTSD. I belong to MFSO Military Families Speak Out and attend their monthly support group so I can deal with my own feelings about having lived through four Iraq  deployments and its effect on our family. In several months my careerist son will be going to Afghanistan which will be the fifth deployment for us, his third.
I believe the Iraq war is an illegal war and that we have no business being over there. Bush is nothing but a dictator when you think about it. The citizens of the US want us out, the citizens of Iraq want us out, even the Iraq government want us out--YET we are still there. Why is that?
I have high hopes that Obama will truly represent the people of the US as a president is suppose to.
December 24, 2008, 3:37 am CST

12/19 Beyond the Front Lines

Quote From: indy22

Why did you let these people (head of veteran's affairs)off so easy, the government has pulling this crap with veterans for years. I remember the GI's coming back from Viet Nam had to suffer through this. It's time it came to an end and the US start taking care of people who take care of us.
Vietnam veterans are still suffering through this abuse as are all war veterans. 
December 24, 2008, 7:25 am CST

VA not Taking Care of Veterans

My husband is a VietNam Vet. We have a satellite clinic in our town but he has been informed that if he needs emergency care he will have to travel to a clinic 3 hours away or pay for the service himself. What don't they get by "emergency". He is therefore forced to carry and pay for a supplemental policy which isn't cheap. Also, they have changed his medication to a cheaper version which he's tried before and does not work. They say if he wants to take the medication that works he will have to pay for it himself. Also, though when he goes into the satellite clinic, the waiting room is empty, he is told they won't be able to see him sometimes for months. We owe our Veterans better than this. Not just those returning from Iraq and Afghanistand, but all veterans. My husband still suffers severe anxiety and at times just "blows up" over nothing. He says he is always "on guard", in a "survival mode", He retired early due to stress related illnesses yet they claim this has nothing to do with his service in Viet Nam. We definitely need change.
December 24, 2008, 7:55 am CST

Ashamed of My Country

Dr. Phil

First of all, THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!  I am a veteran myself and am proud of my service to my country.  The U.S. military is a big family and once you become a part of it, you are always a part of it.  The selfless men and women, and their families, who have served our military in this present war and wars past deserve the best, yet they have not received it from our government.  They fulfill their contract with the country but our country doesn't fulfill its contract with them when they come home.  I've watched and listened carefully the last years as report after report has told of more and more of our kids  coming home maimed and mentally devastated to a country who seems to go out of its way to neglect them.  It's a crime what these kids are facing trying to get the help they desperately need from our government.  I have a teenage son and teenage nieces and nephews.  There was a time I would have been proud to have my son or nieces and nephew serve in the U.S. military but not now.  When I saw the report a few months ago about our young troops suffering from post-traumatic stress being diagnosed by military doctors and officers as having "personality disorders", I was furious.  They were diagnosing them with "personality disorders" so they could say these disorders were pre-existing conditions which the military had no obligation to treat.  They were also discharging these troops due to their "personality disorders", and therefore "washing their hands of them."  This type of discharge took away any benefits these troops should have been eligible for.  I remember looking at my son at the minute I heard this and telling him that as of then, I would do anything in my power to keep him from joining any of our military services.  I still stand by what I said.  President Elect Obama is inhereting the huge mess created by George Bush and he has his hands full.  I only pray that he puts the treatment of our military on his priority list.  Our military is our first defense.  Without them, we will be doomed as a country.  Our country is better than this.  It's about time we prove it!  

December 24, 2008, 5:46 pm CST

More then one way to support our troops

I am a proud Veteran (Army Reservist) who just returned from my tour of duty in Iraq as a Trauma Nurse.  Watching your show brought numerous memories and many unshed tears. I was honored to be able to serve my fellow Soldiers and my country and will never regret this decision.  One of my greatest concerns was the reintegration of our deployed Soldiers back into society and their psychological well being.  I myself always consider myself strong and didn't realize the effect this would have on me and felt that I had no right to depression or the anger I felt upon returning home being as I was physically  intact.  I have been home six months and am still struggling to become "normal".  I find many Veterans don't seek help for fear it will harm their careers and there is still a stigma that PTSD is a weakness.  Many of us have different experiences, some worse than others and I find even within the Military community there is very little understanding of this if it hasn't been experienced personally.  Some nurses who have deployed were in situations where their experiences were non-traumatic and in no way can relate to what I'm going through.  I myself can't explain the changes I'm going through.  I show the world the 'Normal" me and keep hidden the real thoughts and feelings I am dealing with.  I still consider this a personal weakness, although I know its not.  Logically, I know what I witnessed no person should ever have to be exposed to and that in itself will cause changes in the person.  Please Dr. Phil know that there are good people in the VA system  and my experience with them has been nothing but positive.  I know I am lucky.  Also encourage and allow those professionals who want to give of their talents (plastic/reconstructive surgeons) to help those in need.  They may not be able to go over and help fight the war, but they can show support by giving of their talents to those in need.  Our Soldiers fighting the war can do so because of the great support we receive from home.  Don't take this privilege away from those who want to give.  I could have never completed my mission successfully without the support of those back home. I continue to support my fellow Soldiers in my civilian job at a military hospital in the ER and try to help those returning home by encouraging counseling before a crisis comes about and teach them that true strength is asking for help and allowing yourself to receive it.  GOD BLESS AMERICA AND THE MEN AND WOMEN SERVING OUR COUNTRY TO SECURE OUR FREEDOM
December 25, 2008, 9:45 am CST

I hear you clearly

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,


I too have "PTSD due to MST (military sexual trauma)", because they claim I do not have problems in my relationship I am not really affected. I can go on and on about how I have and feel about being in any type of relationship whether it is for friendship, love, business, or any other reason. I have been seeing a therapist since being on active to present day for about 25 years. But little does the VA realize I have mega problems with trust and other issues from this time of trauma as I believe many others do as well. The only statement to this from my point of view is continue to fight the system and obtain your complete health records from the VA for past through current starting with active and veteran status. Also obtain civilian records from private health care providers. Research your records and submit all that pertain to the issues of ANY illness you suffer from and apply for service connection and/or increases as they worsen. Never be satisfied with a decision or submit to it if you feel any disagreement in their findings. File timely disagreements and appeals as appropriately as possible. Good luck and God bless. Also seek out assistance from one of the veteran groups. I have used the DAV since 2001 and would and have recommended them to vets in any and all opportunities given. Many have gone on to receive their benefits due them.


No rewards for sacrifice given to Veterans in peace or war,

Just another disabled Navy Vet of 10 years

December 25, 2008, 10:43 am CST

Hello Edward,

Quote From: hedhurley1

Hello Dr. Phil

I want to thank you for your concern for people like USA veterans and the treatment that we live through or just give up our fight with the system. My name is Senior Master Sergeant Edward Hurley (E-8) retired, I really need some help if you can. I know that this is a little of the tract but it deals with the government not doing the job they promised. As you read through this document remember I am not a scholar, I am an old retired Aircraft Mechanic, Viet Nam veteran from the USAF for 39 years and you may have to read some of this a couple of times to understand what I am trying to say but I have done my best! I am a veteran of Viet Nam war 1968 to 1969 and I can say that our government does not act like they are happy about the fact we do not die in combat. That seems do be the way we are treated when we return from wars they send us to, when we do not return in a body bag. I have had my go around with the VA, I am 30% disabled, which took a lot of work, time, and energy. This was a walk in the park compared to the situation I am in now with DODs armed forces insurance system called TRICARE. The government of the USA that I served honorably for 39 years is trying to do me a very serious injustice buy letting TRICARE beat the crap out of me for @ $9000. out of pocket money, tax free $$$$$$. It seems to me that Tricare is another word for a system to deny any claim that we make to them. Just about every person I have dealt with in this system must have attended classes to give old people a hard time, hope they die soon and stop bothering them. Every where I turn I hit road blocks with the DODs armed forces insurance system called TRICARE.


My story is I joined the 107  Tactical Fighter Group of  New York Air National Guard in Niagara Falls NY in September 1961 as a Aircraft Mechanic and retired from this unit with a lot of honorable discharge in December of 2000 39 years. The civilian job that I had was also an aircraft mechanic with the same unit  from June 1965 to December 2000, a total of 35 years. We were federal civil service employees who wore the USAF uniform every day with all uniform regulations to be CW, and worked on the same aircraft assigned. Being a federal civil service employee our health insurance was federal civil service like Blue Cross and Blue Shield that we paid a monthly premium. When I retired I had Independent Health family plan as my Insurer. In which I still have and pay $ 350. a month for.

We in the ANG can not draw our retirement pay for the service to this country until the age of 60 years old. I turned 60 in August 2004 and started to draw my retirement.  I did know of this out of pocket expenses benefit through Tricare that I am a member of, since I retired at 60 in 2004. My wife and I did not even know we were a participant of the many Tricare insurance companies, we were never informed. I would like to say the information available about the many Tricare programs, to us that retire from the US services is at best horrible. I could not understand why something as important as tricare was not told to me when I was authorized, in August 2004 when I retired from the New York Air National Guard. I asked myself something as important as tricare @ $ 9000 tax free out of my pocket expenses for my wife and myself over the four years, whose job could it be, I was completely puzzled.  In the many, many hours I have spent researching I have come across a lot of data that pertains to these problems I am having with the tricare system, not informing me as they should have. I have a lot of time to do this because since this whole roller costar ride in the tricare arena I have not been able to sleep much.  I used to use my daughters computer at her house @ 7 miles from my house, about every 2 weeks for 15 minutes to read email. But on this tricare rollercoaster I have been on I was spending nights and days at her house, her kids needed to use the computer at her house for home work. so I had to purchase  a $ 2000. complete computer and the internet.  I guess that a computer is required when you retire, Uncle Sam should have bought me one when I retired  HA HA HA Yea. You now I hate to think about all of the poor retired souls that do not have or ever will have a computer or know how to use it, may be you have parents or grandparents, that are retired, picture them on a computer trying to get what is coming to them. 

I did find who out whose job it was to inform us we were authorized to use tricare from the tricare charter at, back in August 8, 2004 when I turned 60, it is DIRECTOR OF TRICARE that dropped the ball big time by not informing me at 60 years old when I retired see: a couple of paragraphs. This is from the charter the director of TMA must follow by this DOD direction.

6.2. The Director. TMA, under the authority, direction, and control of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs ASD(HA), shall:

6.2.1. Organize, direct, and manage the TMA and all assigned resources.

6.2.11. Provide beneficiary and customer support and information services. .

Do you think as I do that the system set up does this purposely so people retired, go to their graves not knowing about these benefits, remember we are old. In August 2008 I learned from a person I met that I was authorized to use the many tricare systems for assistance in paying out of pocket expenses for doctors, hospitals, and perspiration co pays buy tricare since August 2004, a total of 4 years. So me and my wife got all of the paperwork for Dr., hospitals, insurance plain, the VA copayments for perspiration for me and all drug store  copayments  for my wife for the last 4 years and sent this to the many tricare offices to get some of the money back that the Director Of Tricare stole from us. We have been writing letters and grievances with no satisfaction for the last 4 months.

 I have a theory that I think has some subsistence about this matter of people and there are many not being told by   The Director. TMA,  is this a cover up by tricare ? The DOD knows exactly how many people are retired   and all of there dependents, this information is in the Defense Enrolment Eligibility System (DEERS) If you are a service member, retiree, or dependent, DEERS registration is the key to getting your TRICARE benefits eligibility established. DEERS is a computerized database of military sponsors, families and others worldwide who are entitled under the law to TRICARE benefits.  As is said no matter where you read this material to make absolutely sure this information in DEERS stays up to date, ours has always been up to date. Does the DOD and DEERS system pay a flat rate to Tricare for all personnel authorized and then get more money from the DOD, to pay for individual claims. If Tricare, was as I understand them to be, a large independent insurance company working for the DOD under the charter I mention above. Youd think that Tricare  would bend over backswords to make sure every person authorized would be fully informed about Tricare benefits, even before they retire and for surely  after. The more beneficiaries the more Tricare grows  This is not occurring like in my case and I know a lot more cases. Has tricare been receiving money for me and my wife since I retired in August 2004 and if they kept it ? If I wasnt told I was authorized Tricare  by word of mouth, from a friend I properly would have gone to my grave not knowing about my benefits I  have, @&1200. a year, tax free in co pay benefits.  There has to be a reason why tricare does not inform us and I think its a very large one, a cover up. As I see it there no other reason, How do you see it is certainly happening  As a closing statement I would like to say that I helped defend this great country we live in, both in peace and war and I do not think that the government is right to let this happen to veterans.



Thank You from a very wounded Veteran  

Edward J. Hurley


I too am a disabled veteran with 80% service connection who recently applied for 100% unemployability due to being unable to work because of service connection illnesses. I am also a current federal employee on LWOP due to exhaustion of all leave. Now I am in Priority Group 1 and all my medical needs are covered by the VA. I was also an Aviation Aircraft Mechanic in the Navy and worked in AIMD at the highest level which I miss. But due to injuries incurred on active duty I changed my job to Ships serviceman. After 10 years I became a civilian employee of the government for 20 years and one of the jobs I loved to do was assisting claimants with their Medicare issues. Now Tricare was at fault for giving incorrect information and people who where age 65 and older who had Tricare did not apply for Medicare because of that fault and where being terminated by Tricare leaving them with no health care. Now I can say that they did do allot of trying to repair the damage by waiving all surcharges for late enrollment to Medicare Part B because of this and some have still slipped through the cracks. If you are like myself you do not need Tricare or Medicare Part B in Priority Group 1 - but in you must have Tricare and you are age 65, you must apply for your Medicare Part B because as a retiree who does not receive Social Security benefits you will not be notified of your entitlement. Medicare and Tricare are suppose to work together, meaning that Medicare at age 65 is primary insurance and Tricare becomes secondary. Usually what Medicare does not cover Tricare picks up. I am not knowledgeable on the deductibles and so forth, but Medicare has a monthly premium of $98.40 for 2008 and will remain the same for 2009. No increase. If you receive all your medication from the VA then you are also not subject to the Part D (RX drug plan) because it is considered equal to the VA RX plan and co-pays. Part-C is also not required as it is a supplementary insurance to Part B of Medicare medical insurance and is not necessarily needed but I do advice consulting the Tricare and VA health insurance programs. If you would like to find more information, go the and websites. I hope this helps.  Feel free to reply.


Just another disabled vet trying to help!





December 25, 2008, 2:10 pm CST

12/19 Beyond the Front Lines

I am a veteran of the USCG.  I feel for those that were on the show.  I too, went through some of the same things that I know a lot of other verts have gone through,.  I was raped by to members of the Coast Guard.  When I went to get help, I was interigated like I was a criminal and made to doubt myself and esentually made to feel like it was my fault, that I made it happen.  The two guys got away with what they did, with not even so much as a slap of the wrist.  I was branded by the entire base as a liar, and a troublemaker.  I got to the point where I wanted to die.  I was so depressed and I hated myself.  I felt lost.  I confided in a friend that I just wanted to pain to end and that it would have been better if I were not even alive.  He told his superiors, and I ended up in the hospital on sucide watch.  I was there for about a week, before they sent me to see someone ta o talk to..  Why did they not do that before, after the incident.  The man that I saw did nothing for me, he saw me twice and then sent me on my way.  I was then transfered to a new unit, where, I met a girl who was about the same age as me.  We became friends, and I soon found out that she had gone through a similar incident, and her command brushed it under the rug, keep it qiuet, and transfered her.   Why does this happen to so many women?  I think that is it so wrong that women  are going through this, and not recieveing any help, and instead, things are turned on them.  Because of what happened, I can not have children.  why does the military allow this to happen? 
December 26, 2008, 4:54 am CST

Never Give Up


 Thanks Dr.Phil to you and your guest and staff for showing the world what the VA is doing to veterans. Please follow up on this story periodically. Myself and veterans of northwest Florida do not want the American people to forget the other war veterans fight after active military service.

   38 years after the Vietnam war we are still fighting for exposure to Agent Orange and the results of these Herbicide poisoning on service members of Southeast Asia and other country's are devastating. Now Vietnam Veterans are dying at an alarming rate everyday, just in my neighborhood alone 5 veterans all being treated at VA care facilities have passed on. I'm 59 years old and three where younger than me, the other two where in upper sixties. I get sad to think about them and their families and how the VA makes their widows wait 6 months are longer for their benefits to start up and all the time living expensive keep mounting up and no way to pay.




David B Adkison

December 26, 2008, 10:51 am CST

Can we sue the government?

Quote From: elkie0206

How can I help?I feel very strongly about  this problem and have for some time ,but I have no idea who to contact  in order to help.
I am the Mom whose son committed suicide after his service in Operation Iraqi Freedom.  I posted his story on 12/22 on this message board.  I have already contacted my congressman and have not received even so much as an acknowledgement.  Does anyone know if we can sue our government for what I believe are criminal acts of negligence?
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