Trails of Mississippi

Trails of Mississippi

by June 15, 2015

Story & photos by: George Peace
Grenada, Mississippi
A SAD FACT: Did you know that 22 VETERANS COMMIT SUICIDE EVERY DAY? That’s 8,030 veterans that die every year. 264 Veterans die every year because they do not receive the mental health care that they need. I received a head injury in October. I was treated and had surgery at the Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo, Mi. Excellent Trauma Center, but not a VA hospital. The VA was notified [of my treatment] from day one, but still denied the bill for 3 months. Finally I received a letter saying it was paid.

When I was discharged from the Borgess Medical Center, I was instructed to go to the Jackson VA for follow up care. I went to my primary care, and they couldn’t even remove the staples and stitches from my head. They are not able to handle head injuries; I was sent to the emergency room. I was treated and had the staples and stitches removed. I was told that they do not have a Neurosurgeon on staff and cannot treat head trauma cases at this hospital. I was sent across the street to University Medical Center. I went there three times and had two Cat scans. The VA sent me there, and then REFUSED to pay the bill. Once again, I received a letter three months later saying it was covered. The Good News is my Neurosurgeon gave me a complete release. I not complaining; I’m blessed to receive the Medical Care I get–I just think the VA could do a better job.

Part of the problem is the Present Administration does not authorize the funds they need to provide decent care for the Veterans (that’s the reason there isn’t a Neurosurgeon at the hospital). The saddest day I ever witnessed was four days before Christmas 2012. I had a liver appointment and needed blood work. I took the elevator to the basement and saw a line snaking down two hallways. The hospital staff was on CHRISTMAS vacation and they had moved all the appointments to that day. There was a two and a half hour wait to get your blood work. I personally witnessed a 90-year-old vet in a wheelchair, and vets with walkers and IV stands standing in line for hours. WHY?!? I felt ashamed to be an American.

This is why Veterans commit suicide. They are lied to, are misled and they are denied the rights they fought for. They do not receive the medical care they need. There are many mid-east vets returning with head injuries from I.U.D.s. Can Jackson VA treat these Vets?” NO, They Can’t.” They do not have a Neurosurgeon on staff. Men and women, who served their country proudly, now have to battle for their own rights here on their home turf.

“Ya’ll Ride Free & Be Safe Happy Trails Until We Meet Again…”

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