It’s time to start calling the scandal at the VA by an appropriate name — a crisis.
A Valley veteran suffering from PTSD after two tours in Iraq walked into the Phoenix VA on Wednesday and said, “I don’t feel well. I don’t trust myself.”
He was reaching out for help and he was rejected because he didn’t have an appointment.
There’s no other way to describe this, it’s a crisis. It’s a failure. A failure on a promise, on a solemn vow this nation gives to its vets.
The vow of never leaving a soldier behind. That vow that says America takes care of those who serve, especially those most in need, as this veteran was.
He was seriously considering ending his life, something 22 veterans do each day.
Thankfully, this veteran didn’t. Thankfully, he was able to get the help he needed. But, sadly, it took too much work for him help. It shouldn’t take any work at all to get suicidal veterans they help they need.
Hopefully, after any publicity from this disgraceful story dies down the same problems aren’t repeated.
To the VA’s credit, the vet who showed up to the Phoenix VA says the doctors there truly do care.
Oftentimes, bureaucracy prevents many veterans from seeing doctors. Washington — there’s a big part of the problem.
The bureaucracy is behind those much-publicized secret lists and hidden wait times. The bureaucracy seems to have initially prevented this vet from getting help. The bureaucracy seemed more concerned with receiving bonuses than caring for veterans.
That’s another reason this is a crisis, an unacceptable one, one that should have already been fixed. Looks like there’s much more work to be done.
If a veteran in this much need shows up at any VA office tomorrow, a week, a month or a year from now, every employee should help get them the proper help.
If they are in the wrong building, bring them to the right building. If they are in the wrong location, get them to the right one. If they need to call a crisis hotline, dial the number for them and hand them the phone.
Do whatever it takes.
Do it because it’s the right thing to do, not because a Phoenix radio show talked about it.
Do it because it is this nation’s promise to its veterans.