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LETTER: Stop bashing the Veterans Administration

The Summerville Journal-Scene - 8/22/2017

Stop bashing the VA

I served in the Marine Corps from 1973-1976. I am fortunate to receive my medical care at the Ralph H. Johnson Veterans hospital in Charleston, SC for the past eight years. In 2016, I had both knees and both shoulders replaced in the space of eight months. Yes, I know post operative pain in ways I do not wish on anyone. Well, almost anyone.

I received substantial pain medication tablets in the hundreds. At the end of each prescription there was no withdrawal, or any need to rob a pharmacy. In fact I could have used a little more to ease the pain of each procedure. My surgeons Dr. James Detorre, and Dr. Shane Woolf although sympathetic, rightfully refused my additional requests.

There has been a political campaign to demonized physicians at the VA throughout the system. In the words of Hillary Clinton, who is married to a draft dodger, “Bags of Opioid to our Veterans.” Yes, there is a nationwide addiction issue. However, it is disgraceful to imply or outright accuse professional caregivers at the VA as complicit. I speak with empirical knowledge all protocols are intact.

In addition some veterans not receiving care in a timely manner are themselves responsible for not taking ownership of their appointments. There are more than 300,000 associates in the Veterans Administration caring for millions of veterans going back to World War II.

As a veteran, you must follow up on your own appointments. If you are not scheduled for a health issue, call and get scheduled. There is also the web page “My Health Vet” that allows every veteran receiving care to manage appointments, medication and secure messaging to providers. You must find a way to be involved with your health care and not whine. My God! Where is your military discipline and tenacity to accomplish your mission? Every veteran has been and will always be part of the fabric that has kept America great.

I don’t wish to see the less than honorable use veterans or veteran care givers for political or personal gain.

Finally, a loud shout out to all the volunteers at the Ralph H. Johnson hospital especially transportation. Jerry, Bob, and all the others who find the time to shuttle veterans back and forth to keep our appointments. You are the best and have hearts the size of the Grand Canyon. May God always be with you.

Michael DiDato



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