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Friday, June 10, 2011

The VA health care system - from a veteran's perspective

Back when I was a newspaper reporter, I considered the work to be sacred in a way.

Work as a real reporter is not the sensationalized headline hunting, self-promoting disgrace it has devolved into these days. A real reporter reports the truth and attempts to be unbiased – actually goes to great lengths to be unbiased. A real reporter covers the news and provides information others cannot get access to. A real reporter is a prize fighter, often without any prize (and usually without much of a salary).

But that’s about the responsibility involved in the job. I want to talk to you about the glory of the thing.

The glory of reporting is that, while you may sometimes feel like Don Qixote de la Mancha, you are not always simply “tilting at windmills.” On occasion, the windmills get their ass kicked.

I lived for that moment. I didn’t like to hurt people, but where there was an injustice which could not be addressed any other way … in fact, where the long arm of the law wasn’t long enough – I could reach the sucker. And when I got to them – with training and experience in a variety of fields, they felt like they’d been truly touched.

And so, I would like to introduce to you a concept, which is due:  This is the unveiling of a new blog.  Those veterans out there are going to like this – especially New Mexico veterans.

I am about to begin a new blog dedicated to the review of VA services from the perspective of a New Mexico veteran. For those who work at the Veteran’s Hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico, get ready. You’re going to love me even more than you do now.

I will make a regular report on initiatives made by the New Mexico VA Health Care System – and the response to these initiatives by veterans in the hallways and waiting rooms of the hospital complex. I will draw on my own experiences for this, but I will try to keep the reporting on those experiences unbiased. Where possible, I will provide you names and offices and phone numbers for sources. Where possible, I will give individuals the opportunity to respond to my articles. But, in the end, you will have a ground-level view of how a veteran’s medical facility treats soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines returning or returned from the battlefields of the world.

You will often be disgusted by what you see and read here. And you will no doubt also experience the entire gamut of other emotions. Because those who knew me as a reporter and news editor of a daily, knew one thing for certain: there was no escape. If you deserved a look by me or the other reporters, it would be hard and uncompromising – and it would be fair. Good things happen in many of these places as well as the bad things.

I know why this kind of thing is not often done. On the one hand, it is often the case that the doctors, nurses and administrators who work there really are doing their best. They are in a high-stress job and aren’t often appreciated or thanked. But they do get their share of difficult patients. On the other hand, people fear reprisals. Veterans are often very sick and their injuries are serious. Private insurance typically will not cover their chronic service-connected conditions – and the VA is the only chance they’ve got, to lead a halfway normal life. They don’t need a massive organization of nameless, faceless administrators and functionaries descending on them like locusts. They are scared.

I am not.

I am a former USAF sergeant and a graduate of the Defense Information School, trained in Public Affairs. I am a better PA person than the character they have working for them. I am a reporter, editor and author. And I am a traditional martial art teacher of 20 years experience.

I will tell you folks who treat veterans poorly in my backyard, quite simply now, what is coming for you – it is what I promised to insect politicians and their like when I began writing the Jolly Rogers a few years ago…

My wrath may not seem real from your lofty positions. You may feel yourselves to be untouchable, but make no mistake I am coming for you.

I am coming for you all.


The blog about the VA health care system from a veteran’s perspective will be announced here on the Jolly Rogers, when it is set up. Watch for it. As there are  further developments, I will report on them here until that new site is up and running.

1 comment:

  1. Fucking A Brother, this is great. When I was with you at that particular VA, you know I seen some things I didn't like. I applaud your efforts in ousting whatever medical team, supervisor, doctor or some ASSHOLE working behind bullet proof glass handing out prescriptions.

    Although I'm not a veteran I can understand how veterans feel. The disrespect they get from civi's is alone bad enough. One would think that those employed at a VA hospital would have an entirely different outlook but some of them don't. So I wish you the best of luck to accomplish the task at hand.


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