National Guard Veteran Ken served as a doctor in one of VA’s spinal cord injury centers, then he deployed to Iraq. After an injury, he could have gone anywhere for treatment, but he placed his trust in VA. The following is a brief Q/A with Ken explaining why.

Tell me about the day you were injured. 

On September 12, 2004, I was involved in a suicide car bombing incident. I woke up in Baghdad hospital. I had an open head injury with multiple shrapnel, nerve damages all over my body, and twisted ankles and thumbs.

And what happened to you then? 

Surgery, five months of rehab, and after rehab, I went home. All my physician colleagues were all telling me to come to see them, so they were willing to take care of me. But you know what, I decided not to. I wanted to go give VA a chance to take care of me.

I’m the chief of spinal cord injury at the Milwaukee VA. And as a physician, it was embarrassing to admit that I have PTSD. So for about a year, I would refuse to take that diagnosis and not see anyone. But it was my eight-year-old daughter who all-of-a-sudden said, “Dad, you don’t smile anymore.”

And then something rang in me, and it just hit me like a brick wall. And at that time, I decided I’m going to go to VA.

You are a Veteran and you are a doctor at VA. So you can talk from two perspectives. 

When I stepped into VA – not as a provider there but as a patient – it opened up a whole different world for me.

I had a choice. We have a great community cardiac center. It’s one of the best in the world in there. And colleagues were telling me, you need to go there, and not go to VA. But again, I decided to stay with VA just to see. And I was thinking, God, there is one of the best cardiology centers in the world here, and I’m going to go to VA. Am I screwing myself over for this? And it wasn’t. The tests they did on me, the things they did, the treatment they gave me was fantastic. So, VA has been designated as my care facility, period. That’s it.

So what would you say to a Veteran who struggling to find their way after an injury?

You know, if you’re in a dark place, and you’re having trouble getting out of it, you’re in a hole. And it seems like the world’s caving in on you. You don’t have any escape route to do. You don’t really have to look too far or go into too much of a detail. You just need to do one thing: just try your VA one time.

People are choosing VA over other great health care systems because it is the place to go now. I’m proud to say, come to VA. Why would you go anywhere else?

Listen to Ken’s Story here and share it on social media.

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Bronwyn Emmet is a public affairs specialist for the National Veterans Outreach Office.

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6 Comments

  1. Jesse F Tiede May 5, 2021 at 9:40 pm

    As with john Brian Miller27 above, I too retired in San Antonio, Texas. I use South Texas Veterans Health Care System, better known as Audie L. Murphy VA Medical Center, and it’s satellite clinics. Every one of my DOCTORS and NURSES have been Top Shelf professionals, with almost never any problems! My heartburn comes at the hands of the support staff, or admin workers! Many of them are excellent people, but there are more than a few who really push your buttons! I have had some claim to call me, yet my phone never ring, thus generating call back letters which USUALLY means “They” don’t answer their phones when you call back! And when they DO actually call your number, they hang up after one ring! Is that s they can say they didn’t get an answer when they called? IDK, but stuff like this just pisses me off! Another thing, I get not answering phone calls when you’re within a 30 minute window, or so, of quitting time, even though “I” did so, when I was a VA employee! But every single clinic I call will not answer their phone before 8:45 AM (Work hours start at 0730), or after 3:15 PM (quitting time is 1630! That is, they leave the automatic system on, and don’t do their basic job! This is my experience in the other VA Facilities at Waco, Texas, and Palestine, Texas, too! Good doctors and nurses, spotty luck with admin staff…

  2. Robert Franklin Langford May 5, 2021 at 6:13 pm

    Are you kidding me, I have used the VA for all my health care needs for about twenty years. A few bad experiences but on scale of one to ten, I’ll give the VA a 9.5 everyday. People must understand, each person must do their part. Try your best to fulfill each scheduled appointment, or advise that you cannot. Treat the VA staff with respect and you will receive the same.
    I do not consider myself to be the most tolerant individual, only twice have I felt that did not get the services I am entitled to.
    And each time these issues were addressed by management. I would put The VA’s hiring and training of all personnel against the top medical facilities in the USA.

  3. john Brian Miller27 April 30, 2021 at 2:22 am

    After 27 yrs U.S. ARMY INF.,2 wars 12 yrs. Overseas I retired in my home town San Antonio Tx. The home of World Class Army Medicine. At Audie Murphy V.A. All service members are treated with the upmost respect and dignity that we deserve thats WHY I GET MY HEALTH CARE AT V.A.

  4. Joe Rowland April 16, 2021 at 9:09 pm

    Yes Sir 3 world medical treatment is better than va
    I think most va doctor are one that wernt good a nuff work in the 3 world country so thay cam to the va

    • kidiposh May 2, 2021 at 3:07 am

      really?

  5. Steven P Melcher April 16, 2021 at 10:17 am

    Why I DON’T get my health care at the VA: when I lived in north county San Diego I got great care at the VA. Then I moved to Pueblo, Co. It took them 4 months to get me registered.
    I saw two different drs in two years. The second dr thought he was God’s gift to the world. He rejected EVERYTHING I had to say about my health. He was the dr I was a moron. EVERY TIME I went to the BA clinic I walked away furious. I finally stopped going.

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