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May 29, 2008


Bob Bailey

Having just talked with my brother-in-law, one of the victims of the Marion fiasco, I don't really believe that there is a genuine commitment to make sure that these victims are compensated for the hell that they have been dragged through and to guarantee that they will be taken care of for as long as necessary. These people are veterans. They pledged their lives to protect us and our country. They deserve our respect and support in their hour of need. They and their families should be compensated for their needless deaths and/or the long term care that they now so desperately need. The supposed "quick solution" demanded by Senator Dick Durbin was just a sham to make the public think that he really cared for these and future victims. For him, it is just politics as usual. He talks and acts like he cares and then, when the problem falls off the news radar, he spends all of his time and our money getting himself reelected. He claimed quick action and fair compensation to the victims and their families but the amount quoted to the media for the proposed settlement is at the opposite end of the spectrum from what these victims and their families are really being offered.

The emotional toll on my brother-in-law is almost insurmountable. Because he is unable to walk or stand for more than a few minutes at a time, each day he is becoming more depressed and disillusioned.

He was already a victim of previous "experiments" while in the navy for which he was receiving a partial disability pension. However the total disability from the Marion incident (which was independently confirmed and signed off on by another VA hospital) has yet to be processed or delivered. Almost 2 years later, he is still waiting for the form to authorize yet another physical to again "prove" that the butchering of his abdomen, the septic poisoning from the botched surgery, the 2-3 unattended heart attacks (heart situations is what they call them) has left him totally disabled. This has made it impossible for him to work or to even lead some semblance of a normal life. In the mean time he is being forced to live below the poverty level. Is this the way a grateful nation should treat its veterans?

My brother may not have actually fought in a war but he did serve his country and the government promised him safe and appropriate health care as a result of his service. If his is a typical VA Hospital case, then I am truly sorry for all the rest of our veterans receiving such substandard care. How can we, as a country, speak of patriotism when we treat individuals in such a manner after they defended our way of life?

Is anyone else involved in the Marion situation experiencing the same difficulties? If so, speak out, write your congressmen and senators, and contact the news media. I believe that the only way to get a just resolution to this injustice is to keep it in the public eye and to continue to hold the feet of the decision makers to the fire.

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