Army Veteran Natasha was badly injured in Iraq when a landmine detonated under her Humvee. She spent a year recovering in military hospitals, followed by extensive rehabilitation. After separating from service, she came to VA and now gets her care at the women’s clinic at the Dallas VA Medical Center.
You retired in 2006. When did you start using VA care?
Immediately, I did. And I heard a lot of bad stories before I came into VA. I was like, Oh my gosh, this is going to be horrible.
So what’s VA like?
VA, in my experience, is amazing. The health care facilities are just the best. I haven’t been to a private doctor’s office that’s as good as my doctor at VA.
Does it make a difference having something like the women’s clinic?
I definitely think the women’s clinic makes a difference. I am already very comfortable with VA and being able to utilize the facilities there, as opposed to having to gallivant all over Dallas to try to find someone. It makes a huge, huge difference.
Now, when I was pregnant with my daughter, there were some things that I had to go elsewhere to do, and I found it very difficult to navigate those systems after having the experience that I have in VA, so it has made a huge difference.
For me, the difference is the comfort level. At VA, I know what to expect. I know that I can go there, and I know who I’m going to see. I know that if I need something that they’ll be able to find it or help me find it, so I thoroughly appreciate it and enjoy my visits with VA. I never felt cold or out of place. I always felt comfortable.
Women do not self-identify as Veterans first. But in the Women’s Clinic, most of the staff are female Veterans. They are knowledgeable and they understand what the female Veterans are going through when they’re there. Knowing that you’re dealing with people who have been through the same things that you’ve been through, on every level, not just as Veterans, but as female Veterans – it makes a big difference.
Does VA provide women’s health services like mammograms, gynecological checkups, maternity, prenatal care?
VA absolutely provides those services. VA provides almost everything that a female Veteran needs. I have had my gyno visits there, all my mammograms there. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I went through the majority of my prenatal visits at VA. It’s a one-stop woman shop.
See more of Natasha’s story below.
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Bronwyn Emmet is a public affairs specialist with the National Veterans Outreach Office, Department of Veterans Affairs.