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Topic : 12/19 Beyond the Front Lines

Number of Replies: 399
New Messages This Week: 0
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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 19, 2008, 7:44 am CST

veterans have always had this problem

This problem has been going on for years.  It really needs to be fixed.  I have been going through this since the first Iraq war.  Let's see some positive change!!!
December 19, 2008, 7:52 am CST

One Positive Comment

I feel so bad about the military members shown on this program.  It goes without saying that the military services and the VA need to streamline their processes and provide urgent care services.  Surely, the VA can refer a military member to receive outpatient services from a local MD provider when services cannot be provided on an urgent basis.


Just to give another side of the VA story, my spouse served 20 years in the Air Force and retired with an honorable discharge in 1979.    He received a 10% disability rating due to hypertension.  Twenty years later (1999) he died as the result of a heart attack..  The AF referred me to a casualty affairs officer to complete the necessary paperwork to terminate his retired pay and burial services.  The casualty affairs officer asked me whether I wanted to apply to the VA for a determination on service connected death.  I had never thought of that and in fact, I was hesitant to do so.  But we completed the application and I quickly forgot about it.


A very few months letter, I received notification that my spouse's death had been service-connected.  I was awarded monthly (Tax-exempt) compensation of approximately $900.00 for the rest of my life.  Each year, this amount is subject to raises based on the cost of living adjustments.


Based on my experience, I have to speak up and put in a good word for the VA.  The dedicated prople who work for the VA are to be commended for the good things they do accomplish.  On the other hand, they should be urged to overcome the factors which contributed to the poor treatment received by these brave military personnel on the show today.

December 19, 2008, 7:54 am CST

NOT an isolated incident


The story of the young man with the lost eye is NOT an isolated incident.  I am a home health care nurse and we contract with the VA so I do care for a lot of Vets.  One that stands out in my mind is a man in his mid 30s who  lost a leg and was paralyzed from the waist down in Iraq 3 years ago.  His family was very upset that he was being cared for at home because the VA had "kicked him out" of their hospital saying there was nothing more they could treat him for.  While being home in his old twin bed, while waiting for the VA to approve someone to care for him, he developed decubitus ulcers in his feet.  He was a diabetic and by the time the VA approved a home care nurse, the infection was so bad, he had to have almost his entire foot ambutated.  He was in a urine and feces soaked bed and his elderly mother (who was also in a wheelchair) was not able to care for him or bathe him.  He was really disgusting (by no fault of his own).  I asked the mother why he was at home and not in a facility where he could have round the clock care (which is what he needed).  She said the VA would not approve it because he did not qualify because none of his conditions could get any better.  He eventually killed himself by breaking a mirror and slitting his neck with the mirror. I could not believe that this man who gave his quality of life for our country could not get the help he needed.  In addition, I did a clinical rotation at the VA Hospital in nursing school and they do NOT recieve good health care.


Did you know that the WWII vets that came back from the war with PTSD were instituationalized in mental asylums becuase PTSD was not recognized and they deemed them crazy.  Over half of all vets ended up in asylums.  This is how we have treated our soldiers who have made our country free.  !

December 19, 2008, 7:55 am CST

sad, but i know how they feel

this just ticks me off also. i have been dealing with the va for 3 years now and have never been seen. i was in iraq saw my best friend die in my lap after being blown up by an i.e.d. but never have been seen. i know that they are busy with soldiers returning home but 3 years of waiting and calling and calling and calling. but this was a good show to do because people dont understand what we go through when we get home and then there is no one there that is helping they keep pulling our chains and making us wait longer and longer to be seen. and they wonder why we never want to re-up and stay in the military, why should we when we are getting help we deserve. i was diagnosed with mild ptsd when i was in iraq after the accident but i still cant been seen, what the h... i have finally just given up dealing with them for help and am slowley learning to deal with nightmares, re-curring dreams, flashbacks, and just about everything else on my own. my hubby and daughter are my reasons for just dealing with emotions and feelings. but i just dont see while after being diagnosed with ptsd while the va still cant find time to see me. it just bull. thanks for doing the show to show people what we have to deal with everyday fighting the va and than not getting help we need and deserve.
December 19, 2008, 8:17 am CST

care received by veterans

Having served for 20 yrs in the military and having seen and heard cases of veterans treatment I can truthfully say that I am embarrassed by the treatment or non-treatment received.  I applied for a loss of hearing and it took more than nine months for the VA to deny my claim.  Because there was no recorded hearing loss while on active duty I do not qualify even though my hearing loss occurred before the normal time in life when a hearing loss could be expected.  I personally doubt if any of the non military types in congress really care and I wonder if the people appointed to run the VA really have the help they need to do the job.
December 19, 2008, 8:26 am CST

Thank you!!!

Thank you so much for doing this show!!!  My sister and I have written you a few times in the last 3 years about this very thing.  Her husband had 3 tours in Iraq and is now in jail because of not being able to cope with the "real world"!  They are trained to kill, yet not trained on how to decompress from killing and live in society again!  It's ridiculous!  He actually told me a few stories that he was a part of over there and said he thinks he belongs in jail because he doesn't know how to live "out here".  We felt helpless.  My sister went to his commanding officer and told him what things were going on and he said that he would be fine.  Men do it every day.  Just give him time.  He started writing his own prescriptions because no one would help him and he was caught.  They said they were going to use him as an example.  He was an exemplary officer in the Air Force and spent 17 years in the military.  His wife and two children have had to try to pick up the pieces and move on, but it has been hard for the girls to get past this.  My sister has had a breakdown herself, so for a short period of time, the girls lost BOTH of their parents.  Someone needs to get this situation fixed with the VA!!  I just wanted to say thank you for getting the word out and letting people know what's really going on.  I'm sure my sister could give you more information about their story if you were interested.
December 19, 2008, 8:27 am CST

12/19 Beyond the Front Lines

Quote From: barb0615

Me and my husband are both veterans. In fact my husband is a Viet Nam Vet and got treated like crap when he returned state side.

We feel sorry and sad for all the Vets but we can not understand why the Vets that are returning from  
Irag are getting better treatment and respect than the Viet Nam Vet did.

Our hearts go out to the Veterans that come back with fiscal and mental problems. WE want to wish them all well

You said you dont understand why iraq vets are getting better treatment and respect than the Viet Nam vets.  I would like to believe that we learn from our mistakes. I think what happened to Viet Nam vets was horrific and I think most people would agree with me.  Maybe people have learned if you disagree with the war the soldiers are not to blame. They are there doing a job alot of people don't have the courage to do.  I have so much respect for are soldiers. I think alot of people feel what is happening is not right but they don't know what to do to help(not that its an excuse). I hope that this show has inspired people to do what they can. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your service and all the soldiers that stand up and fight for our country. THANK YOU!

December 19, 2008, 8:53 am CST

12/19 Beyond the Front Lines

my son has PTSD and now they have findly gotten around to give him a MRI now that he has been medivaced home from Iraq in Aug they findly did a MRI two weeks ago the guy who did it said there are two dark spots on his brain one in the back and one in the front and still no doctor has called him back they said it would take 3 days for the doctors to get the results and he has called every day and no one will call him back. He is on leave in PA now and everyday he has called and tried to find out what it says. Becasue the MRI tech said it didn't look good. I'm so mad at the Naval Hospital and the way they have treated him all the want to do his give him drugs thats it. He lost his hearing and has yet to get his hearing aids he lost his hearing the first tour and it took until they tramaed him home fron Iraq for them to even check his hearing. Even though he went to his commander before he did his second tour and to the chaplin and told them both he was having problems and didn't think he should go back to Iraq. He had all signs then of PTSD and I had begged him to go talk to someone. They just told him he was being a----- and he was going back to Iraq. On his first tour his hummer he was a gunner on hit and IED and he got blown back and forward. He was a gunner and got the worst of it. He passed out and didn't remember anything about what happened when he woke up. His buddies help him because he had blood running from his ears. This was when he lost his hearing they kept tellhing him it would come back and they never checked again to see if it had even  though my son told them he couldn't hear. T hey sent him back to Iraq anyway. He has nightmares almost every night and is on meds to make him sleep and meds for depression. He has been in the hospital because he lost it and called me and told me he wasn't going back to his house or back to the Marines he told me he was walking down the road headed out of town. I called his commander and told him he better go find my son and it was crazy that they weren't helping him. He has been to the hospital earlier that day to tell them he needed to talk to someone they told him his appointment was not until next week. His commander agreeded to talk him to the hospital they kept him one night and let him go home to his wife and two babies  he definitly has anger issues. I'm worried for them all the time. My son was a great country boy before he went in the marines and now he has changed so much I really don't know what to expect next.Now they are telling him to go ahead and leave the military in Feb like it was sopost to and not wait for the medical board. I think this is so wrong. They should be taking care of him and his family until his VA disabilites start. I wish I could get him the help he needs. He is only 24years old and has a whole life ahead of him, but with the problems he is having I'm worried what might happen.

Terri in NC

December 19, 2008, 9:44 am CST

Veterans Benefits

 It's a sad state of our country when the men and women that protect it are left with inadequate care and outright disregard for their welfare.   Any worthless welfare trash or law breaking convict can get more and better FREE health care than our vets.  Maybe we should take some of the billions we put into those programs and take care of the people who are taking care of us.  Maybe it would be more prudent to bail out our soldiers than to bail out big business.  All those in Washington are to blame for the terrible crime and it is a crime to let out vets go without or have to fight for something they should be given with no problems. EVERYONE should write to their congressmen and senators about this. 
December 19, 2008, 10:26 am CST

It's about time!!

Thank you Dr. Phil and ALL OTHERS who are putting forth effort to bring light and recognition to this very unfortunate failure in our government system!! I believe through your efforts there is HOPE for the men and women who have served this country and need help, now. There are power in numbers so I tell the American people to join forces to bring about change! Go to the link on this site to see how you can help as well! Our warriors deserve nothing but the BEST! 


Dr. Phil, I know you will continue to be involved in this mission and provide coverage as often as necessary. This is an URGENT CRISIS and changes need to be made, fast.  


We love and care about our service men and women!!!! Keep the faith and have hope!


PS. I have PTSD (much less severe) from a different type of trauma situation but can attest to - even at this lesser degree - the difficulties it causes in a person's life. These men and woman are really suffering. They need their lives back!!! Their families need them!!

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