Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Our soldiers deserve more than substandard care

      U.S. soldiers put their lives on the line each day to defend their country.  It is without question one of the most admirable careers a man or woman could choose.  After enlisting, training, and for many of them, traveling overseas to threatening combat zones where they will witness atrocities that most can never imagine, they return home to a hero's welcome.  The ideal situation is for a soldier to return home to their families and friends in good health, without injury.  However, what about the soldiers who have paid the price of national security with their health, and have fallen victim to injury?  These soldiers return home to seek medical care of what should be of the highest caliber, however, it has become obvious that not all VA medical facilities are providing such service.

     In February 2007, the country was rocked with the news that Walter Reed Army Medical Center was caring for veterans in substandard facilities, leaving people in shock.  How could a medical center that should be equipped with state-of-the-art medical technology be providing substandard treatment to our nation's soldiers?  This was completely unacceptable.  Although blame was juggled around, Veteran Affairs vowed to correct the problem and provide the kind of treatment these soldiers deserved.  Soldiers, their families, and the public were informed this type of crime against American soldiers would be corrected and not occur again.  This has been far from the truth.

     Surgeries at the VA medical facility in Marion, Illinois have been halted as a string of veteran deaths have occurred in the past year, which have been attributed to substandard care.  If it isn't bad enough that the office of Veteran Affairs has not kept their word to not allow soldiers to be treated in substandard conditions, the employees responsible for providing the substandard care have not been held accountable.  Illinois Representative Jerry Costello is currently trying to correct this by calling for criminal charges to be pressed against the employees involved. 

     This problem of substandard care for american veterans is not only an insult and embarrassment to the armed forces, but also serves as a hindrance to military recruitment.  How can a country recruit the best and truthfully make the promises they do when they cannot assure the highest quality of treatment for veterans?  We owe our veterans much more.



rhymenoceros said...

You're right, it might lead recruitment problems. But don't let that bother you...there's always the draft.

Coffee Junkee said...

I completely agree with you. My late grandfather was a retired Marine who served in Korea during the Korean War; unfortunately, he had Frostbite on his legs during his time of service overseas. For the rest of his life he had minor problems and irritations with his feet, and even moreso as he aged. Originally, he was promised compensation for the hardships he endured from having Frostbite; however, he did not receive any compensation for his hardships until just a few years before he passed away. By the way, he was 19 when he served in Korea and in his seventies when he passed away. Efficient?