I am a former Marine, and West Virginia National Guard SSGT.
I was in Iraq in 2004-2005…and I have PTSD, if it were not for my wife and her pressure on both me and the VA..and her due diligence, I would be dead today. I was on a hand full of pills for my PTSD, and then the VA Dr tried to add one more…without telling me why, or even putting it in my medical records.
When the pills came in my wife asked me about them, but I did not know what or why they were sent… so she called the VA and fought with them, basically she was told that she was to throw out all my other meds, I was on 5 at the time, cut me off cold turkey, and start me on the new one he sent… which if I had taken with the other 5 would have possibly killed me.
So we did what they said, and now I have terrible headaches all the time… due mostly in part to the sudden change in medications…and the stress and mess it caused in my head…. now we complained to the VA OIG..and were told that nothing was done wrong..and we complained to the state Med Board…with the same results…and do you know why???
Not because we are nuts and our cause was unfounded, but rather when the VA investigates itself, as well as the Med Board investigating one of its own…they will never find anything wrong… and if they do..it is only because someone outside and higher up is jumping on them.
Now I no longer go to the VA, we demanded, and were given a fee basis letter that lets us seek our care from an outside DR and therapist…. I do not trust the VA as far as I can throw them… and my wife is my assigned care taker, so that she now sits in on all DR appointments so that she knows what is said and holds them to it.
My wife has been working with a noted neurologist, Dr Baughman, as well as a gold star family member in our group, Stan White, who lost two sons to this war, one in Afghanistan, and the other to the VA and PTSD meds here in the states, Andrew died at the age of 22 while in his sleep…. cause is yet to be determined, but we know it was the meds. Over 85 men and women have died from these meds, my wife has a spread sheet and keeps it updated…it will tell you who died, where they died, and how… funny thing is… there are never follow up stories on these men and women…until this one today that was sent to us by a friend in the Marine Corps Engineer Association.
I wonder why that is? I mean some of these troops died over a year ago and still there is no true cause of death? A friend, I served in Iraq with, died at the age of 27…the day he came home from an in house VA treatment center…. his wife is now a widow..with two small children, and she is an OIF vet as well from my unit… and will she ever get justice or even an explanation into the death of her husband?
My wife went with a slew of other people to DC to fight the drug makers at an FDA hearing on expanding the use of these drugs… in my opinion they were treated like garbage, their questions were ignored…and the very next day on the drug companies web site they told of the new FDA regulations regarding their drugs… the same regulations that the day before were being debated??
Has anyone in this world ever heard of a government agency working that fast?? HELL NO! The public meeting was bullshit and the outcome already determined…and more of our veterans and civilians will die because of this. They pull medications off the shelves all the time…but not these meds… over 85 deaths and still rising and yet no one will stop them…because it is a billion dollar industry and we are too few to be heard.
We started our own, non Va, Non denominational, non anything… PTSD support group, we are out to educate veterans and their families about what PTSD is all about, what meds can and can not do for you, and basically to be there for anyone when they need us. Please check out our website if you get the chance;
We will be the place that vets go to get good information on medications, on working with, through, and around the VA and any other agency that is harassing our vets.
We will not just send someone away without helping them and their families learn to cope with both the PTSD and those that are more than willing to silence us all. As many veterans will tell you, the VA will not leave you alone till you die or give up…well we refuse to give up and will fight for our vets and their families. If you email my wife she will send you the list of the other 85 veterans that have died mysteriously in their sleep since the start of the wars.
Sorry to have written so long…but these issues have got to be addressed. I am very sorry for your loss…. but keep the faith and know that your Marine is standing guard in heaven now till you all meet again. I am sure he is proud that you are fighting for his cause and his brothers in arms.
Retired SSGT – Tom Vande Burgt
Co-Founder “Lest We Forget PTSD Support Group”
October 1, 2009