VA Secretary Promises “World Class” Medical Care

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VA Secretary Promises “World Class” Medical Care
by Jim Forsyth

The Secretary of Veterans Affairs met with wounded veterans of the Iraq war at San Antonio’s Brooke Army Medical Center this afternoon and Jim Nicholson said advances in military medicine during this war means the VA of the future will undertake the major responsibility of providing high quality lon term care to Iraq war veterans.

“We have cut fatalities a great deal, and as a result of that we have people who are now seriously wounded who in previous wars would have been dead,” Nicholson told 1200 WOAI news. “We need to provide and continue to provide these people with world class health care and we need to be there when they need it in the future.”

Nicholson met with soldiers at the sprawling Army hospital just five days after a visit by President Bush.

Military officials have stated that the ‘Died of Wounds Rate,’ the percentage of soldiers who die from battlefield wounds, is the lowest of any war fought by any military in history. About 12% of soldiers who are wounded in Iraq die from their wounds, down from 25% in all wars of the twentieth century. But Nicholson pointed out that the Veterans Administration will have to rise to the challenge of providing what may be very expensive ‘first class medical care’ to those veterans for the next several decades…

     

Nicholson also pointed out that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is becoming more and more common for returning Iraq veterans.

“The VA is the world’s leading expert on PTSD,” he said. “We have a major resource center for this in Vermont, and every one of our 157 major medical centers we have a highly trained PTSD specialist. We are indeed ramped up to take care of this phenomenon.”

Nicholson said the VA is the only government agency which has avoided budget cuts in the ‘recision’ of government spending in the past year, and he said the current VA budget of $70 billion is up 57% during the four budget years of the Bush administration.

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