Dr. Kevorkian does not work at the VA

Published 2:42 pm Friday, August 28, 2009

Ms. Ojeda remarked in Wednesday, Aug. 26, Letters to the Editor that the Veterans Administration is distributing a booklet to returning veterans, and making it sound as though the VA had Dr. Kevorkian on staff.

They do have the brochure she described, but not as she described it. As I read it, it was mainly about having a living will.

It is not on the brochure rack in the lobby along with your rights to privacy or flu shot information.

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At the VA, every vet has a primary care physician who knows their patients quite well, personally, physically, mentally. When the doctor feels it is appropriate to any situation they distribute information. If the veterans were thought to be unstable, the doctor is not going to give them such a booklet.

Ms. Ojeda is correct in saying some returning veterans are in a delicate state emotionally. Some but not many. These kids come back, can’t find a job, their families lose medical benefits as soon as they are discharged, if they intend to go to school on the GI Bill it probably doesn’t start for months, can’t find affordable housing, etc. That would put anybody in an emotional state.

The VA gets a lot of undeserved bad press, as a veteran and a VA patient, I can vouch for the care every veteran gets.

The Tallahassee VA Clinic beats the local hospital hands down. It’s cleaner, has better infection control, better equipment, all medical records are electronic, they pull up my entire medical history in seconds whether I’m in Tallahassee or Seattle. Appointments are on schedule, if your appointment is at 1300, don’t walk in at 1310 or you will go to the end of the queue and be seen after everyone else. There are no excessive tests, no “maybe this drug will work or we’ll try another.”

An example, I started to lose the use of my right arm, I was shipped to Gainesville for MRIs the next day. The VA surgeons were tied up, so they arranged to send me to the closest hospital to my home for a total shoulder replacement, immediately, as a delay would cause permanent nerve damage.

The VA goes the extra mile for its vets, it’s one of the few benefits we get for letting creepy little people try to kill us.

Rob HowellsBainbridge Ga.