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The Invisible Wounds: War Vets and the Struggle for Medical Benefits - Essay Example

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Summary
Marine sergeant, Fred Ball is back at home, yet still at war. Bits and pieces of actual people bleeding to death, bomb explosions and the tremors; all are stuck in his mind. The emotional scars of military combats are just inerasable…
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The Invisible Wounds: War Vets and the Struggle for Medical Benefits
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The Invisible Wounds: War Vets and the Struggle for Medical Benefits

Download file to see previous pages... For a period of not less than three months, Ball relevance to the team was rendered inconsequential by a military medical report; an occurrence that forever changed the course of a life that once shielded the US safety from extremism. Ball was diagnosed with myriad medical problems: traumatic brain injury, memory problems, insomnia, chronic headaches, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and balance problems by a medical examination from Military doctors. Accordingly, his 3.5 high school grade-point average had reduced to a sixth-grade-level learning capability (Robison par 2). A medical report by Marine Corps found Ball unfit for service and consequently discharged him. He was, however, ruled not disabled enough to warrant full permanent disability retirement benefits. Only months out of service, Ball's state of affairs became even worse. The tremors experienced in the numerous blasts were back with a vengeance. He lost stability and hardly walked; a stability nightmare that extended to the very basics like using a fork or a pencil. Although he receives a monthly stipend of $337 from the Department of Veterans Affairs for the services he rendered to the nation while in service, he receives no medical care. He has been forced to work 16 hours a day at a packing-crate plant near his home town East Wenatchee. He has gone into debt in a bid to cover his $1,600 mortgage per month and support his family. With unstable health, his world has turned upside down and the condition is set to worsen under these circumstances, unless a remedy is quickly found. The Veterans affairs’ management of the military healthcare and benefits systems is riddled with deplorable inefficiencies that require sweeping reforms to ameliorate denials that only serve [at this stage] to unearth a pending disaster. Fred Ball's story is just but a replica of a shocking number of cases in which the U.S. military appears to have locked its wounded service men out of a full military disability retirement benefits on grounds of low disability ratings (Hoge et. al. 18-20). Even with the governments’ failure to honor the veterans’ plight for better treatment for the serious injuries sustained while on duty, the substandard outpatient care conditions given for these men and women who gave their best for the nation, most notably at Walter Reed Army Medical Center is worrisome. Apparently, the soldiers are being subjected to a dysfunctional disability ratings process that is not only short-changing the newest crop of veterans, but also setting precedence for worse health conditions hitherto not experienced before (Glantz 53). The current system that has existed for years is more of a mess to the veterans’ welfare. Recent statistics indicate tens of thousands caught up in ordeals arising from the causalities of Iraq and Afghanistan wars. A closer scrutiny of the report from the Army inspector general reveals of a system beset by ambiguities and inbuilt discrepancies. Information from the Department of defense shows that nearly 93 percent of disabled troops have received low ratings in the past (Robinson par 5). And the two wars mentioned above takes a larger share of the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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