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Everyone has heard about the atrocities of the VA (Veterans Administration) Medical System.

“More than 120 previously unpublished investigations by the Veterans Affairs Department’s inspector general, dating as far back as 2006, reveal problems at VA medical centers nationwide ranging from medical malpractice and patient safety concerns to mismanagement, infighting and corruption.”

I am not saying there are not things that cannot be improved. I know there are Veterans who have suffered due to mismanagement or lack of proper and immediate care. You only have to pick up a newspaper, turn on the television or the computer and you can find a plethora of articles trumpeting the ills of the system.

My own experience with utilizing the VA medical facilities tell a different story. Granted, I live in a smaller community which no doubt makes a difference, but on the occasions where I’ve been required to travel to larger facilities, two and four hours away, I continued to receive the finest care.

I have never once been treated with anything less than respect and kindness. From the receptionist at the front desk, my nurses, doctors, phlebotomists, other specialists, even those I merely passed in the hallways, I was always made to feel as though I was as important as anyone else and they were happy to help me.

I am especially fond of my nurses, I cannot mention them by name because of privacy rules, but they are some of the most wonderful ladies! They listen, they take the time to talk to me and listen to me. Not just about my medical concerns, but also about how my day, and their day is going. We talk about local events or news events, we all shake our heads at some of what’s going on. We talk about our children and grandchildren. They give me ideas to compliment what the Doctor has instructed me to do. They comfort me and on nearly every occasion we find something to laugh about together. THANK YOU LADIES!

I have even had a Doctor from a specialty clinic who called me personally, not his nurse, not his secretary, but he called me himself to check in on me after the procedure. Amazing. Even though I probably will not see this Doctor again, I have to say he was one of my favorites at 36 years old, with crazy mismatched socks, a colorful tie and he made me laugh during the procedure. Dr. L., you are a hoot!

I know there are those out there who do not agree that veterans should receive this kind of specialized medical care after they have completed their service time for our country. There are those who think the mistreatment of our veterans are just part of the way life is. There are those who do not care one way or the other.  There are those who believe the mistreatment is rampant throughout the system and it’s just horrid and the whole of the VA system should be done away with.

I disagree.  Not just because I am fortunate enough to receive positive and thorough care.

I disagree because the VA Medical System is no different from any other “system”. You can find mismanagement and incompetence anywhere and every where. A public or other type of private medical facility. A grocery store, a private business, educational facility, government organization, you name it, you can find fault anywhere.

I cannot and will not defend the negative aspects of any system.  However, I will speak up to say, just as nothing is altogether perfect, also nothing is altogether without any merit at all. There is positive and negative to everything. Even us as individuals, we all, each one of us, have weaknesses and strengths.

All I ask is the next time someone considers speaking so horribly about the VA Medical System, please remember, there are good doctors, nurses, receptionists, facilities out there who really care about our veterans and want to give them the best service possible, in return for the service our veterans provided to our country.

One last note, I am so proud and honored to see two flags at the entrance to every facility. The Flag of the United States of America, and the POW-MIA flag, to remember those men and women who were/are prisoners of war or are missing in action. Thank you to the veteran military members serving and protecting our country and those who are POW-MIA.

 

Hudson Reed Showers