This was on the New York Post
Shuttered clinics and transferred doctors have veterans fearful the Brooklyn VA hospital is on its way to closing.
The Bay Ridge facility’s ear, nose and throat clinic – which treats vets exposed to everything from Agent
Orange in the Vietnam War to new toxins in America’s Mideast conflicts – is losing its contingent of doctors from SUNY Downstate Medical Center. A sign on the clinic door alerted patients that it was closing for good on June 27.
After a rally by veterans groups and ongoing pressure from Rep. Dan Donovan, the head of the city’s VA hospital system told The Post the clinic will, in fact, remain open. Martina Parauda said two to three part-time staff doctors will be hired to replace the SUNY physicians by the end of the month.
But vets suspect the VA ultimately wants to shut down the Brooklyn hospital, which sits on valuable oceanview property, or at least ax the last of its inpatient care.
Oh, but we were told that veterans would get such great care! None of the politicians bothered to fill us in on what century that would happen!
WHERE IS AMERICA WHEN VETERANS NEED AMERICA? That is the question publicly asked back in 2006 when I wrote the following. It is a question I have been asking all my life.
I grew up surrounded by veterans from WWII and Korean War. Then I married into another military family. My husband and his nephew fought in Vietnam. My Father-in-law, along with three of his brothers, fought in WWII.
I saw all the parades and saw the ambivalence when veterans were forced to fight battles against the government after they fought for the nation. Promised care was just never there, ready for when they needed it.
In 2003 I was writing about PTSD and what it was doing, just as I was back in 1993 when I got my first computer and jus as I did back in 1984 when the media was not paying attention, so I wrote in the local newspaper. Why am I still asking the same question?
WHERE IS AMERICA WHEN VETERANS NEED AMERICA?
Am J Psychiatry 1991; 148:586-591 Copyright © 1991 by American Psychiatric AssociationSuicide and guilt as manifestations of PTSD in Vietnam combat veteransH Hendin and AP Haas Department of Psychiatry, New York Medical College, NY.
OBJECTIVE: Although studies have suggested a disproportionate rate of suicide among war veterans, particularly those with postservice psychiatric illness, there has been little systematic examination of the underlying reasons. This study aimed to identify factors predictive of suicide among Vietnam combat veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
METHOD: Of 187 veterans referred to the study through a Veterans Administration hospital, 100 were confirmed by means of a structured questionnaire and five clinical interviews as having had combat experience in Vietnam and as meeting the DSM-III criteria for PTSD.
The analysis is based on these 100 cases.
RESULTS: Nineteen of the 100 veterans had made a postservice suicide attempt, and 15 more had been preoccupied with suicide since the war. Five factors were significantly related to suicide attempts: guilt about combat actions, survivor guilt, depression, anxiety, and severe PTSD. Logistic regression analysis showed that combat guilt was the most significant predictor of both suicide attempts and preoccupation with suicide. For a significant percentage of the suicidal veterans, such disturbing combat behavior as the killing of women and children took place while they were feeling emotionally out of control because of fear or rage.
CONCLUSIONS: In this study, PTSD among Vietnam combat veterans emerged as a psychiatric disorder with considerable risk for suicide, and intensive combat-related guilt was found to be the most significant explanatory factor. These findings point to the need for greater clinical attention to the role of guilt in the evaluation and treatment of suicidal veterans with PTSD. http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/abstract/148/5/586
Although the link is from 1991 it applies even more now.
Today the lives of Vietnam veterans are still being claimed by suicide, but now added to the lists of the killed after action by war wounds, are those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Why? We have studied PTSD. We know the price of war. We know the treatment necessary. We know the medications that have been proven to relieve symptoms. Yet with all we know, what we do not know is how to remove the stigma of those suffering with it. We have yet to change the mind set of the "normal people" who remain safe in a secure world and oblivious to the one certain fact that it very well could have been them suffering instead of standing in judgment and positioning themselves between salvation and the grave.
How many more do we have to lay to rest because of PTSD and suicides when help is there for the asking? How many will we loose because they have to wait too long for treatment when they do finally seek after it? How many more will we loose because of fools mouthing off about something so easy to understand had they managed to find the ability to reach the one shred of compassion they have left within them? What is even more appalling is the fact that none of these deaths by suicide needed to happen had humanity bothered with those who suffer for what we sent them to do. The shame is not their's. The shame belongs to all of us who refuse to stand up for them, to give them a voice, to help them to find hope and help them to heal.
There are more parrots running around the country than patriots screaming "we support the troops" but are no where to be found when they are asked to prove any of their claims. Where are they when the veterans need funding for services they would not have to have had it not been for them being sent to risk their lives? They are telling the veterans they claimed to have supported when they were active, to get over it and deal with it.
We knew what was coming back in 2006 and reported on the Kansas City Star.
"The miscalculation on PTSD echoes last year’s underestimation by the Bush administration of how many Iraq and Afghanistan veterans would need medical treatment. It had underfunded VA health care by $1 billion, despite assurances to Congress that the department had enough money."
WASHINGTON –– The number of troops back this year from Iraq and Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress disorder could be five times higher than the Department of Veterans Affairs predicted.
Instead of 2,900 new cases that it reported in February to a veterans advocate in Congress, the increase could be 15,000 or more, according to the VA.
At the Kansas City VA Medical Center, only nine vets from current combat were diagnosed with PTSD in 2004.
Last year, it was 58. In just the first three months of fiscal 2006, the hospital saw 72.
“It’s absolutely incredible,” said Kathy Lee, at the Missouri Veterans of Foreign Wars.
A former Army nurse in Vietnam who works at the hospital, Lee said, “Every single Iraq vet who comes in, I give them a list and say, ‘How many of these (PTSD) symptoms do you have?’ It’s almost nine out of 10.”
Most of the PTSD cases the VA sees involve veterans from earlier conflicts, primarily Vietnam.It was a year of telling reports, almost a prediction of what was to come. All of these headlines are still being repeated.
2.2 million records stolen from active duty troops
Veterans fighting for jobs
Families need help to cope
Veterans Suicide Wall
When I came home, homeless veterans
PTSD veterans and kids
Congress to cut funds for veterans
The Wall Hand Against Stone
Two words that should not be "Homeless" and "Veteran"
(yes, the original one before it was used in a commercial)
VA underestimated cost of caring for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans by billions while many had to wait years for benefits
Sexual abuse cases in the military
Veteran Centers being overwhelmed by veterans seeking help
Camp Pendleton Marine families in bread lines
To save money, instead of lives, they were closing Psych Units