Originally created 02/24/03

Fight for the military; they fight for you



I'm writing this letter to share with you my anger, frustration and disgust with the military health-care system.

I am a registered nurse and have been practicing for 23 years. The last 10 years I have been in home health care. Over the last 10 years, I have repeatedly had to fight the chain of command, fill out stacks of paperwork and just plain argue with the system to get proper - not just adequate - health care for my patients.

Three years ago, a wonderful little boy was born to my daughter. Her husband is active military. Keep in mind that he is in the military because he wants to be there. He does not owe the government any money or time.

What a novelty. This wonderful little boy has had numerous health problems. My children have had to fight the system aggressively to get care. We even had to fly to Europe and bring the child back to the states and continue our fight here at Fort Gordon.

He only had nine infections in a year, and their standard before referral was 12. After many trips to Fort Gordon, we were finally referred. By that time, my grandchild was so sick he had a seizure in the waiting room. Contradictory to the normal X-ray reports from Fort Gordon, he was found to have chronically inflamed lungs and a significant hearing problem. One year later, he was diagnosed with PDD, a form of autism. Our battle begins again.

In the 23 years I have practiced nursing, I've heard everything from "he has not had enough recurring episodes" to (my all-time favorite) "the mind set here is this is free medicine."

How do I explain that to my 3-year-old grandson, or the Vietnam vet with no legs or the World War II vet with COPD? When is Congress going to stop their raises and improve the health care for the military? When is the public going to care enough to fight for the needs of the military? After all, they are fighting for your needs!

Deborah Dietschler, Evans, Ga.