What Veterans Scandal?

Isn’t it amazing that the president has a presser on the Veterans Affairs scandal yesterday and today’s Commercial Appeal has no mention of it except buried in Washington Briefs?

There is a little more on the editorial page. “Veterans Need an Advocate.” Duh and wow. That’s it? I have also been amazed that the morning newspaper has not sought out anything about the local VA hospital. If you don’t acknowledge a problem, I guess there isn’t one, hm?

I haven’t had much experience with the Veterans hospital here. One, really. A few months ago Mr. Midtown Republican and I went to visit a friend there.

He’s a veteran of the Korean War who had some tumors on his head. I don’t know if it was from sun on board ship; certainly in the 50s few people understood skin cancer. His care was OK, although he had been back and forth at the hospital.

When we visited him it was after lunch and I saw his tray sitting there. Most of it was uneaten. Not surprising since older, ill people often don’t have an appetite. I didn’t think much of it.

It was only later that I realized the significance of that tray.

In asking the parish priest who also visited him about his condition, Father told us he had bought some baby food and pudding for him and taken it by his house nearby. I asked if there was anything we could take him. Father asked if we knew the veteran’s history. We did not. He told us that the veteran had worked at Juvenile Court for twenty years. One day, a kid turned around and hit him in the jaw. He went to the dentist who took out all his teeth. The replacements he put in didn’t fit well, so our veteran has only been able to swallow soft food like pudding for these 20 years.

So why didn’t they know that at the hospital? Isn’t that something they should be aware of? His plate had a sandwich with meat on it and other items that he would never be able to eat. And they didn’t ask why he didn’t eat? Didn’t look at his mouth? Had no idea of his history?

This story is relevant because if this one random incident can show the ineptitude of the treatment given to veterans, what else is going on?

It’s a scandalous situation that should warrant the attention of journalists here. It’s damning that it doesn’t.

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