Whiskey Tango Friday

Here’s one you can’t make up.

Soldier from 101st Airborne goes to Iraq.

Soldier gets blown up, as unfortunately tends to happen in Iraq.

Soldier lives and has major surgery to save his leg. Leg gets infected and the guy gets it taken care of.

Solider gets billed $3,000 for the medication to keep the infection from coming back.

A few days later, Erik Roberts says, he went to the emergency room after the lump flared up more. A doctor there, he says, told him that the leg was badly infected and that it might have to be amputated.

Desperate for help, his mother contacted the Army surgeon who had saved her son’s life two years earlier. That doctor referred him to Obremskey, the Vanderbilt surgeon.

The Robertses say the VA did not approve of them going outside the system. Erik Roberts says he had no choice — it was have surgery or potentially lose his leg.

“I thought my leg was more important than the usual bureaucratic mess,” he said.

His leg was saved. The $3,000 billed to Roberts wasn’t for the surgery itself. It’s a portion of the bill for six weeks of daily antibiotics to prevent the infection from coming back. His private insurance plan picked up the majority of the $90,000 in costs.

Why is this guy having to rely on private insurance to take care of his war wounds?!?!

Luckily, there’s a happy ending to this story…

CNN on Wednesday contacted the office of Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Roberts’ home state of Ohio who serves on the Senate’s VA committee. Brown’s office had not heard of Roberts’ case, but immediately reached out to the soldier and alerted the VA about his situation.

In less than 24 hours, the VA got back to CNN. “The VA will be paying the bill,” said VA spokesman Sean Nelson.

But what about those people who DON’T have CNN and a Senator on their side? What happens to them?

This is an absolute disgrace to the government. Our troops are putting their lives on the line every day and to ask them to pay for a single penny is crap. I don’t care if it’s the parking meter in front of the hospital, if he or she is a war veteran there should be someone there feeding quarters into that machine like it’s a fat kid eating twinkies.

We owe them a debt of gratitude.

We owe them our freedom.

We definitely owe them better than this.

W..T..F

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3 Responses to Whiskey Tango Friday

  1. virgil xenophon says:

    WTF indeed. Although I’m not sure it would have applied in this case, there is a little known section of the law/VA regs that allow one to go to the nearest hospital for care if the VA is for certain reasons unavail thru distance or inability to provide procedure, etc., and have hosp. bill VA directly. I only know this because my wife was a Hosp. Dir. of Nursing, and dealt with such situations on occasion.

  2. fastnav says:

    All true, I’ve heard of that rule.

    I think in this case, he went around the VA not because they couldn’t provide the care, but because they weren’t taking action quickly enough to save his leg.

    completely unsat.

  3. concerned says:

    It’s vet like this that give the VA a bad name, then try and make money off of it. He is trying to sell dvd’s from his helmet cam in iraq on rawiraq.com. Maybe he should tell us where that money is going to besides lining his pockets. One day the truth will come out about what happened with his leg because he knows. I realize the soldiers in iraq has seen some horrific things but to try and make money off of some else’s misery that’s terrible. Maybe they should talk to some WWII vets and ask them about what they went through. None of them are crying about it and the majority of them go to the VA for their care and aren’t even service connected for any thing. Unlike this guy who 100%.

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