VA reopens Gulf War files | Feb. 27, story
Veterans battle for medical care
I thank you for printing this story. I am a Desert Storm veteran and actually take 14 different medications a day. The majority of the population does not know of the battle veterans endure after the war. I've been battling the bureaucracy of the Veterans Affairs Department for about six years. I have experienced the same problems dealing with the VA as Wally Heath, who was featured in your story.
I spent two tours in the Persian Gulf in 1990 and 1991, the first being Desert Storm. When the pyridostigmine bromide, better known as BP pills, was issued, the soldiers were given a direct order to take the pills or face an Article 15 (disciplinary action).
During the two deployments to the Persian Gulf, our M8 Chemical Alarms would sound off, only we were told it was from the diesel engines or sand getting in the device. During mid March of 1991 the alarms would continue to sound to the point where the chemical sergeant had us shut all of them down. A couple of times a day I would check, and the M8 would sound in less than 30 seconds.
Upon leaving the location, a couple of my troops and I noticed about a dozen dead goats to the side of the road. There was no sign of trauma, and they had been dead for day or two. There was no infestation of insects, and that side of town was deserted.
Several years ago a letter was sent by the Department of Defense stating that our unit may have been exposed. Four years ago I found out with my own research we had been exposed to sarin gas from the demolition of weapon caches in Iraq.
So many different stories are yet to be told by many veterans. No matter what war or conflict our armed forces have fought in, veterans have faced mental and/or physical problems from each. My fellow veterans and I have placed our lives in harm's way to serve our country, and now that hundreds of thousands of us fall ill, we face an even longer battle trying to obtain the proper compensation, diagnosis and care we deserve.
John Arias, Port Richey
A ray of hope
I would like to thank you for putting this article out. I am one of the vets from the Gulf War who has medical problems.
The doctor I saw at the VA told me I had been exposed to depleted uranium during the war, and this was the cause of my problems with my shoulders. When I applied for VA benefits I was turned down, and could not get my problem fixed. Maybe now I can get something done.
John Laurin, Crystal River
Americans unconvinced about need for reform
It's been over a year since President Barack Obama and the progressives in Washington started pushing their plans for health insurance reform, and they are no closer convincing the country that it is in our best interest to allow the government takeover of the American medical system. We have had town hall meetings in the last year, and it seems as though we could not turn the TV on without President Obama telling us that he knows what's best for the American people. We have had Tea Parties and the talking heads every day telling us the good, the bad and the ugly with health care. We have seen the polls which show that the majority of Americans do not like what the progressives are trying to shove down our throats when it comes to health care.
After all this, I have yet to see a politician respond to the question: Is the government takeover of health care constitutional? Is the mandate to force Americans to buy insurance under threat of penalty a legal act? We know that without adding more people to the insurance system and raising taxes they cannot afford to add 30 million new customers for insurance companies and the federal entitlement system.
Are you for individual freedom or a progressive collective society?
James F. Dahmer, Tampa
Government is necessary
In light of the massive bailouts necessary due to deregulation of financial institutions, I am stunned that Republicans and "Tea Partiers" are able to stir up so much mistrust of government involvement in health care.
Figures are cited by those who favor some controls that show huge sums are spent on insurance and related costs which don't deliver one scrap of health care. Figures also show that our country is way up in costs and down in outcomes when compared to other industrialized countries, all of which have some form of government health care.
Since we know things go out of control without government control, why do we trust private greed ahead of government? We trust government for education, highways, fire and police protection. Do we want to wait until a meltdown in health care costs? At that point, private interests become very much in favor of government help.
Dorothy Gaylord, Zephyrhills
Hospital report cards don't deliver better care | Feb.. 27, by Dr. David McKalip
Too much wasted time
I am a registered nurse and was a case manager for many years. Everything that Dr. McKalip reported is true, but what he neglected to mention was the cost that the hospital incurs in order to effect all of these mandates.
In order to effect all of these mandates at the hospital, we were required to have weekly meetings and had to involve quality control nurses, department heads, case managers and nursing staff to formulate these plans and then to follow up to see what was being done and how to improve the process. The money and time wasted during these weekly meetings could have been used to provide patient care .
Another item that the hospital is rated on is how many patients die in the hospital and within a period of time after they are discharged from the hospital. The problem with this is that they do not take into consideration patients who are terminally ill and those for whom there was no hope for recovery.
Phylis Berger, Leesburg
Hospital report cards don't deliver better care | Feb. 27, by Dr. David McKalip
Study those report cards
I do not understand why your paper persists in giving this man column space. I remember why he was in the news last year, even if your editors don't.
Doctors for Patient Freedom indeed. Consumers should study those hospital report cards carefully. Any nurse could tell you such factors as the rates for postsurgical infections and readmissions directly reflect the hospital's staffing ratio.
Those report cards indicate among other things just how long you'll wait to get your call bell answered. How is reporting just how many people acquired an infection empowering bureaucrats?
Claudia Ruddy, St. Petersburg
A book of blank pages | Feb. 27
What is so interesting about Roger George to justify a major front-page layout, complete with color photo? He is without paperwork. This country supports untold numbers of illegal aliens who have no paperwork and are full of tall tales, or outright lies!
Alan Abele, Dunnellon