Mudcat Café message #953347 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #59685   Message #953347
Posted By: PoppaGator
15-May-03 - 05:04 PM
Thread Name: BS: News on VA?
Subject: RE: BS: News on VA?
There may be empty beds in some VA hospitals, but I don't believe everywhere, especially not in the largest cities. There have been news stories lately in New Orelans about vets being turned away from the VA Hospital; I *believe* the reason has been overcrowding (no space) rather than any other factor such as the individual's qualification. There are still a lot of homeless, mentally-ill Vietnam era vets on the streets hereabouts.

For the record, I'm an honorably discharged "Vietnam era" vet who managed to stay out of combat, and who hasn't yet required VA Hospital services. My knowledge of VA issues comes more from my father's experience; after WWII and Korea, he spent a couple of years in VA hospitals, underwent experimental surgery (which did save/prolong his life), and then had to go though a lot of red tape to estabish his disability.

The government originally argued that his disability was not "service-connected," since he was cured of the diseases (malaria & tuberculosis) contracted while on active duty, and was left disabled after being discharged, by the VA-Hospital surgery that fixed the original problem by removing 60% of his lungs, among other things. With the help of the VFW, he eventually won his case (at the Supreme Court level) and got some retroactive benefits before he died.

Even without the threat of reduced funding, the VA fails *some* veterans even in the best of times. I don't dispute that many if not most vets get all the help they deserve and need, but there have always been some whose cases don't fit any of the established "molds," and even the best-intentioned VA employees are sometimes unable to help.

If the VA budget is cut at the same time the government is sending young men and women off to more and more foreign adventures, there will be many more sad stories to tell.