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Iraq veterans wife sues VA over husbands suicide

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posted on Oct, 8 2008 @ 03:07 AM
I came across this article on my start page of Verizon and the Associated Press covered the story. This is an issue that hits very close to home and I would like to hear your opinions.

First and foremost I am a military veteran who has seen multiple deployments while on active duty with the Army, I served ten years with pride and I volunteered. I expect nothing in return from my country, I served because I wanted to with no regrets and I am a strong willed person who thank god never had to see a psychiatrist, however the VA is swamped with service members returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan with many different types of injuries and are met with resistance due to budget cuts and lack of trained and qualified doctors and just many many patients, In the article below you will read about a soldier who commited suicide after returning from Iraq, Terrible tragedy. Read the article and tell me what you think, Do you think he could have sought attention elsewhere since the VA was backed up or is the VA at fault and if you feel that suing the VA and federal goverment is warranted. Ive formed my opinion already and will post soon. Your input is greatly appreciated.

PHILADELPHIA - The widow of an Iraq war veteran who committed suicide while in outpatient care for depression at a Veterans Administration hospital has sued the federal government for negligence.
Tiera Woodward, 26, claims in her lawsuit that her late husband, Donald, sought treatment at a VA hospital in Lebanon after three failed suicide attempts but wasn't seen by a psychiatrist for more than two months.

She says doctors were slow to diagnose her husband with major depression, and that once the diagnosis was made, a psychiatrist failed to schedule a follow-up meeting with her husband after he informed the doctor he had gone off his medication.

Donald Woodward killed himself in March 2003 at age 23.

"I intend to make them make changes," said Donald Woodward's mother, Lori Woodward. "I have too many friends whose kids are in Iraq. I have a nephew now in Iraq, in the same unit, and I can't have my family go through this again."

Alison Aikele, a VA spokeswoman in Washington, D.C., said the agency does not typically comment on pending litigation.

The lawsuit, filed in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, seeks an unspecified amount for funeral expenses, lost income and pain and suffering.

It echoes other lawsuits nationwide over VA mental-health services, despite legislation President Bush signed in November ordering improvements.

The family of Marine Jeffrey Lucey, also 23, has a federal suit pending in Massachusetts over his June 2004 suicide. And two veterans groups sued the VA in San Francisco seeking an overhaul of its health system, citing special concerns about mental health, but a judge dismissed the suit in June over venue issues.

More than 150,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans have already sought mental health care from the VA, and another 200,000 have sought medical care, according to Veterans for Common Sense, one of the groups involved in the California lawsuit.

"Each tragic veteran suicide is yet another painful reminder of the human cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and VA's abject failure to provide timely and appropriate mental health care," said Paul Sullivan, the group's executive director. "How many wake-up calls does (the) VA need?"

posted on Oct, 8 2008 @ 03:32 AM
McCain opposed to increase the funding for Veteran's Care

posted on Oct, 9 2008 @ 07:39 PM
reply to post by cmd18B

Good find bro...

You know, I had to use the VA a few times after I got out, going back to 2004...and it was swamped then!

I can only imagine it now...

One solution mi amigo, would be to give vouchers to a number of Veterans, either through a case-by-case basis (good luck on this one...) or a lottery of some type (and yes, lottery is a good word to use here).

That way you relieve the hospitals of over flows and ensure treatment for all.

And come on - like the hospitals don't make enough already...a sense of civic duty does not fall just on the populace, it falls on big business as well...or it should.

If the facts are as she said, I hope she hooks 'em good.

posted on Oct, 9 2008 @ 08:11 PM
Please place this thread in its proper forum if it is in the wrong forum. I apologize for any inconveinance...Thank you very much

posted on Oct, 10 2008 @ 01:32 PM
Yet another reason I despise our "glorious leaders"

They have no problem sending people off to war to fight for a cause (I won't go into the rights or wrongs of them) and yet when the job is done, or the persons time in the service comes to an end, they have no problem throwing them on the scrapheap and ignoring them.

Maybe they are just keeping their ears shut and hoping the people who have been badly affected will go away.

There have been many instances here in the UK of soldiers recieving miserly compensation, and in the same week MofD employees recieving massive payments for RSI or other similar nonsense.

The system is skewed, when a pen pusher gets more compensation for typing too much than a soldier gets for losing limbs in battle.

Unfortunately, this has been the case for hundreds of years - read the tales of wellingtons soldiers who were wounded and discharged for truly heart rending accounts.

I may not agree with some of the conflicts we are in, or have been in, but to throw brave people away like so much trash is heartless beyond belief.

These are people who have served their country as best they can - they are not disposable objects to be thrown away because some deem that their usefullness has ended.

[edit on 10/10/2008 by budski]

posted on Oct, 10 2008 @ 01:36 PM
reply to post by budski

That is because we the commoners are nothing but expendable liabilities. It is true that for the elite ruling class we are nothing than numbers.

posted on Oct, 10 2008 @ 01:44 PM
That's what I was trying to say in my own round about way

As usual marg, you hit the nail squarely on the head - yet again, I doff my cap to you.

posted on Oct, 10 2008 @ 03:55 PM
reply to post by budski

Great post Budski..You really made some good sense in your response..Thank you for contributing.

posted on Oct, 10 2008 @ 04:17 PM
I have many decades of experience with the VA.

It is a bureaucracy, a very large bureaucracy.

It has faults and it has failures.

It also has many fine professionals who work hard for veterans and many successes to their credit.

There is a constant struggle between administrators, clinicians, and legislators. Legislators fund, administrators manage, and clinicians do their best to serve the veteran, all the while caught in the struggle between budgetary problems and managers who manage humans like chess pieces.

I have horror stories and have stories of incredible selflessness on the part of those who have served me at the VA.

I'm sorry for those who suffer and can't get adequate care and I am sorry for the relatives of those who could not bear the struggle.

While my first experience dates from the 1971, it has been the last 26 years that have had a strong influence on where I am today.

In those years, I went head to head with the VA and its inscrutable decision makers and fought a battle for benefits.

All I can say is that for the tenacious, there are services and benefits available. There are frustrations to endure, but on the whole and in the long run, the veteran's needs will be met.

There are service organization representatives to help and every VAMC has at least one patient representative who can work miracles in short order when they are called upon.

I literally owe my life to the VA, not once but several times over.

The incidents listed in the article need to be addressed and I hope they are, but the baby cannot be thrown out with the bath water.

These incidents are not a reason to hate our leaders. These incidents are a reason to get involved.

Lawsuits might be a part of that, but there are other ways to get one's needs met.

In the eighties, I enlisted the aid of Lindy Boggs, my representative, and I can tell you that with her help, I got action.

It took 26 years to get what I deserved, but in the intervening years, I got a lot of good clinical treatment and other invaluable benefits.

For those who think that nationalized health care is the answer to our medical woes, I say look at the VA.

It gets the job done, but it does so in its own time and sadly, some get lost in the shuffle.

The VA is neither all good nor all bad.

The way to make the VA more responsive is for individual veterans to get involved, personally and collectively.

Volunteer at your local VAMC. Join a national veterans' organization. Pay your dues and attend meetings. Write your legislators. VOTE!

I know this post is a scatter shot, but its the best I could do to try to relate the experience gained over all these years.

[edit on 2008/10/10 by GradyPhilpott]

posted on Oct, 10 2008 @ 04:46 PM
reply to post by GradyPhilpott

Wow Grady...That was beautifully written..Thank you so much for contributing..Star for you and all should star this post

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