The VA Healthcare Nightmare
Amputee’s Disability claim will be reviewed every 5 years to see if his leg grows back.
H/t to Raw Story for this update. I’ll try to get you to read it all with a couple of kickers.
Marine Cpl. Jacob Schick was driving a Humvee in 2004 when a roadside bomb tore through the floor shreddding both legs and one arm. 46 surgeries and one leg later he will be telling his story tonite on HBO’s “Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq.”
“When I went over there, this wasn’t even an issue,” Schick said recently, glancing at his battered body. “I was totally prepared to die. I wasn’t prepared to come back learning how to walk, 46 surgeries, 23 blood transfusions. I went from being one of the elite, the best of the best, to not even being able to go to the bathroom by myself.”
Equally unexpected was having to contend with the maddening complexities of insurance claims, veterans’ hospitals and a federal health care bureaucracy that makes Schick yearn for the clarity of the battlefield.
In the days before Jacob came home his father checked out possible care facilities able to deal with his extreme injuries.
In anticipation of his son’s return, Schick’s father, Woody Schick, checked out Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and was appalled. More than two years before the media would expose the poor care, mold and cockroaches, Schick’s father told him, “You will not go to Walter Reed.”
Instead, Schick was taken to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, where he would spend the next 18 months undergoing surgery after surgery. The doctors amputated his right leg…
While he obviously has plenty to be depressed about his injuries are not the worst of it.
What makes him angriest, though, are the administrative hassles involved with his health care. Even getting officially designated “disabled” proved time-consuming as the VA faced a backlog of 650,000 claims.
“It took me two or three days to sign up for the Marine Corps,” Schick said. “It took me a year and five months to get a compensation check. You do the math. No matter what, we have to wait an hour and a half, guaranteed, he said. Then you see these doctors who are 190 years old, and you have to repeat everything you say.”
His plight does not end there and perhaps it will never end. Treating our soldiers like this is an absolute disgrace and it is the fault of not just the Bush administration but every congressman and senator in Washington.
I’m sure that after the HBO special there will be lots of huffing and puffing on Capitol Hill. Then a whole lot of nothing will get done. Again.