Feminist Philosophers

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Update: the VA and health care for women vets June 21, 2008

Filed under: bias,gender,medicine — jj @ 1:10 pm

Thanks to Ms for this update on women vets’ health care,which we discussed here:

Veterans Affairs Secretary James Peake said on Friday that the agency is working to improve the health care offered to women vets. The announcement follows an internal VA study that found that female veterans have more difficulty obtaining quality outpatient healthcare than their male counterparts.

“We are making a full-court press to ensure that women veterans receive the highest quality of care,” Peake said, according to the Associated Press.

There has been a consistent air of understatement in the announcements about women and health care. Have a look at travelvet’s comments in our previous post and see if that looks like a story about her having “more difficulty.” “Incapable of getting care needed to save her life” is more like it.

 

6 Responses to “Update: the VA and health care for women vets”

  1. travelvet Says:

    I am a female veteran with PTSD. Mine was caused by sexual harassment that happened while I was serving a 3 year tour in Puerto Rico in the 80s. Puerto Rico assignments during the time I served 1983 to 1986 were considered to be “in theater” due to Grenada and due to the hostility from the locals. We often had base evacs, riots at the main gate, bomb threats and military persons were advised to not wear uniforms off base due to sniper attacks. We also weren’t supposed to be seen off base in marked government vehicles. I worked as a combat journalist. And most of the time those orders that applied to others, weren’t observed in my office.

    We covered some of the worst stories of attacks and had to modify and soften them as not to alert the military population. We also had to use a local Puerto Rican publishing agency to edit and print our base paper. This meant several trips off base in uniform in a marked vehicle.

    I was also the base community relations person and the only person in my office who spoke some Spanish. So I was the main contact sent out to make negotiations.

    Many of the military women I had known had experienced so much sexual harassment because they decided to start their families and become pregnant. I’d say that the military women often had the most miscarriages (as many as 80 t0 90 percent due to hard working conditions, lack of compassion and limited duty requests being ignored).

    I was only 22 at the time and married about 3 years before my pregnancy in 1984. I wasn’t allowed to wear a maternity uniform or say I was pregnant until the baby’s heart beat was heard. Until that point, I was treated as if I was just fat. I had my promotion with held for 6 months, sent to an exercise “fat farm” when 6 months along, measured for body fat, forced to shoot on the rifle range at 7 months and buffing floors at 8 months. The entire pregnancy was highly risky due to my high blood pressure, toxemia and blood clots.

    Eleven days before delivery, I was assigned to do an inventory inspection for 3 hours in a room with no air conditioning. Temps were at least 100 degrees. I passed out from heat exhaustion and was carried out on a gurney then in an ambulance to the hospital. I was given absolute bed rest til my delivery.

    My delivery was complicated and I had to be carefully watched during the hard labor due to my high blood pressure. The hospital staff had me pushing for 3 hours and the baby was turned the wrong way and he stopped breathing. The OB refused to do a C-section.

    My son was ripped out of me with the use of high forceps and I was given heparin for the blood clots. The 15 hour ordeal left me so weak that I wasn’t able to even hold my son for the first two days. My division officer came to my room after the birth and threw a fitness magazine at me then ordered me to get in shape for my next fitness test in 6 weeks. my leave was cut back to only 2 weeks.

    Thanks to this ordeal, mo son was born autistic and with other birth defects. I was told that I could never have another pregnancy or else it would kill me. My blood pressure has remained high for the last 23 years.

    The blood clot disorder continued and lead to my having five major surgeries from 2003 to 2005, I’ve had two failed kidney stents and lost the use of my right kidney. I’ve also had to have a greenfield filter implanted to try to prevent future clots. I’m on blood thinners for life now. And the final health issue I dealt with as a result of a traumatizing birth was that I had to endure a radical hysterectomy and a surgical induced menopause by the time I was 40.

    My PTSD has worsened. The VA refuses to treat me at all now since my decline in health. So despite being 100% service connected; I have to pay for all private medical care and mental health therapy…just to keep living a limited life.

    My physical and mental health have all been affected severely. It’s left me terrified of any further complications and terrified of new doctors. I have constant panic attacks, crying spells to thee point of almost being frozen in fear, and have chronic insomnia.

    All of these issues are directly attributed to my military experiences with the inhumane sexual discrimination I had while stationed in Puerto Rico. I’ve known many military women who’ve had far worse treatment.

    I’ve never heard of or witnessed any man being treated so poorly. So how can it ever be possible that the VA (another man’s world) can ever be prepared to treat female veterans??? They don’t have a clue!!!

    signed, another female victim of the “good ole boy” SYSTEM

  2. jj Says:

    Travelvet, I am so appalled at what happened to you.

  3. Jender Says:

    Truly, truly horrendous.

  4. IF YOU THINK THIS IS AWFUL…THEN YOU NEED TO TAKE A LOOK AT * HOW MANY DISABLED / DEVELOPMENTALLY IMPAIRED …OFFSPRING…THERE IS…FROM A U.S. SOLDIER / VETERAN…TOO *.
    My cousin is George Washington, and he LEFT US A LEGACY IN THE U.S. CONSTITUTION…GUARANTING US…ALL SUPPORT FOR U.S. SOLDIERS / VETERANS & * THEIR SUCCEEDING GENERATIONS *…and Our U.S. Congress Leaders & the Leaders of Our States of the United States of America…are IGNORING THIS…FOR THE FAMILY MEMBERS…THE SUCCEEDING GENERATIONS…OF OUR U.S. SOLDIERS / VETERANS.
    It is the Chemical Imbalance that is the Basic Cause of Birth Defects…Mental Illness Symptoms…Addictive Behaviors, etc…
    CHEMICAL SUBSTANCES / EXPOSURE TO TOXICITY IN NATURAL SUBSTANCES, ETC.
    CONTACT ME, IF NEED BE…I AM FROM A LONG LINEAGE OF U.S. SOLDIERS / VETERANS…SINCE THEY ARRIVED IN AMERICA, BETWEEN 1585 – 1606…& were Some of the Men, who had the Most Money…to Colonize America..
    I follow the Life of George Washington. HE DOCUMENTED HIS MILITARY SERVICE ACTIONS…They’re true facts.
    They can be Found, in the / Each State Territory…websites.
    Do Take an Interest in the Lives of Your Offspring…if they were in Special Education…becoming Disabled, etc.
    Sincerely,
    Hazel Davis
    bojacks1@yahoo.com
    Veterans Advocate

  5. Someone needs to be letting James Peake to be Aware of This.
    NO VA SERVICE OFFICERS…NO VA REPRESENTATIVES, WHICH TO LISTEN TO THIS…BUT IT’S * SELF-EVIDENT * IN THE RECORDS OF HISTORY…OF THE MOVEMENT OF THE MILITARY
    SOLDIERS…SINCE BEFORE THEY FOUGHT AT VALLEY FORGE /
    REVOLUTIONARY WAR.
    I presented this to many U.S. Congressmen…& VA People, and
    DAV People…NO ONE WANTS TO LISTEN.
    Some Offspring…from U.S. Soldiers / Veterans, have been offered about $400,000 / $600,000, for their suffering…of
    seizures, & situations like this.
    THESE ARE CHILDREN….WHO BECOME SCHOOL-DROPS, and
    this family I discovered, THE PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM…
    DID…NOT PROVIDE…SCHOOLING – EDUCATION…FOR THESE
    CHILDREN / YOUTH…ever, after the 7th or 8th Grade.
    I have suffered three miscarriages / 2-infant deaths, in my
    younger years, and part of my brain was missing when I was
    born.
    I was age 62, before I was given the proper medication for Improvement for this…and this NOT ONLY RESTORED MY BRAIN CELLS…IT STOPPED ANY SYMPTOMS OF MENTAL ILLNESS
    …BEHAVIORS…EMOTIONAL UPSET…IMBALANCE.
    So, I know the VA Medical Care Providers, are Failing to Provide Proper Services.
    THERE ARE NO BENEFITS FOR THE SUCCEEDING GENERATIONS FROM U.S. SOLDIERS / VETERANS…AND
    THESE ARE …MILITARY-SERVICE-CONNECTED…INABLITIES /
    BIRTH DEFECTS !
    Defend Your Family…all the Way…Submit this Information
    to Secretary James Peake, or the Highest Level of Government
    especially to the U.S. President…
    UNITED WE STAND…DIVIDED WE FALL…and We the People…
    have Fallen Down…long enough.
    Hazel Davis
    Veterans Advocate
    bojacks1@yahoo.com
    (I’m age 64, Aging Slower…bodywise…but Wisened-Up, after
    I fought for Proper Healthcare maintenance ! ! And I got It
    too !…I keep Pushing til I get It…KEEP COMPLAINING TO ANYONE WHO WILL LISTEN…CAUSE EVENTUALLY, SOMEONE HAS TO BELIEVE YOU !)

  6. Deanna Allman Says:

    I am also a female Veteran who has had it very rough getting medical care at the VA. I was 100% service connected one year after being seperated for a mental/physical condition. I, too had to seek care outside of the VA by private pay Physicians. I ended up having multiple surgeries and finally just said the “hell” with it all and stopped going to Docters period. I have made the decision that I will just live out every day of my life and not worry about anything. I spend a lot of time praying and investigating natural remedies. I do receive Counciling now, but it is still difficult to get good physical treatment. But our US Health Systems is very poor and I am afraid it is getting worse, so I do not blame it all on the VA.


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