by Jim Fausone
Veterans Disability Lawyer
We hear from over 400 veterans a month seeking our help; not knowing where to turn. Often it is on disability matters that we can help with – such as obtaining VA disability benefits. Some of the email requests are simply matters we do not work on – such as educational or home loan matters. We also hear tragic stories where the system has failed our veterans. Here is an email request we just received:
“I'm not sure I am at the right place, but I will tell you my story and let you decide. My nephew John Saxon served 4 years in the US Army spending 1 tour in Iraq for 18 months. He was honorably discharged after his 4 year commitment was finished. After 3 years of inactive duty he was recalled to spend another 1 year tour in Iraq. John has battled PTSD since his return over a year ago. He was seen by a VA doctor in Dallas approx. a month ago and was advised to see a psychiatrist and was put on psyche meds. This morning John snapped and killed his mother by shooting her and setting her house on fire. John now sits in the Grayson County (TX) jail on murder charges. My question is what if anything can your organization do and if nothing can you suggest any places I can contact for further help.”
The Army failed John when it discharged him without proper care. The VA failed John when it did not get him immediate help but simply said see another doctor. The Country failed John when we asked him to defend our values but we did not defend him from the demons that resulted. Although it may be too late for John & his mom, we did not want to fail this family one more time. We pointed them to a group in Texas that should be able to help. The importance of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and psychiatric care for our veterans cannot be overestimated. John is a statistic of the war and now so is his mother. We have seen veteran suicide, criminal activity and homelessness rise. Many of these problems are rooted in mental illness that needs treatment. As we pull troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq; the Department of Defense (DOD) assists the VA in taking care of the troops after discharge. So much more needs to be done for our returning veterans.
John’s sad story is reported in the article above. You will note that they don’t make the connection to his PTSD with his service. Maybe we can ignore it if it’s just a deranged son and his mom in a trailer. We should be outraged and the reporter should tell the real story.