‘Tortured to death’ by bureaucrats; Veteran protests for better care

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‘Tortured to death’ by bureaucrats; Veteran protests for better care

Gary Howard, a former Army Ranger who served in Vietnam, was out protesting the Department of Veterans Affairs on Monday to help push for better health care treatment for all veterans.

A 2014 study from the VA claims that on average about 20 Veterans died from suicide each day. Howard feels like he and others are being “tortured to death” by the stress of waiting for treatments and results.

Howard explained his struggles to get treatments, he talked about driving over five hours to see a doctor only to have an eight-minute conversation in the doctor’s office.

Howard stated, “It takes three or four doctors trips before they even do anything to help you.”

He continued with other stories about having important appointments made a year in advance be canceled just days before, and being forced to wait about six months to learn that he has cancer.

Howard stressed that his problem is not with the individual health care workers, but the bureaucrats over the system that keep veterans from getting good health care.

“We’ve got to fight,” Howard said, “so these younger guys coming back don’t have to go through this,” Howard stated.

Howard is looking to reach out to his fellow veterans that can help, because he wants to start something that brings better health care to his “brothers.”

In his efforts, he tried to reach a fellow Army Ranger: Sen. Tom Cotton. Howard stated, “I tried to reach him because as a fellow ranger, I know he wouldn’t leave me behind.”

After reaching the senator’s office, Howard was informed by the senator’s assistant that Cotton was unavailable address his problem.

Gary Howard sees his protest is part of his duty.

“I’m a Ranger I can do more, and more is expected of me.” said Howard.

In fact, Howard says there might even be a higher calling.

“I feel inspired by God to do this,” he added.

Howard said he lives south of Yellville, so it takes him an hour to just drive to Harrison for a local VA doctor’s appointment.

“I haven’t left my house in a long, long time,” he said. “I had to push myself. I hope God takes me here on the side of the road.”

Sitting in his wheelchair beside Main Street, drivers would stop by to speak to him and offer support.

“Thank you for your service,” one woman called out from her car when she stopped on the street.

A Harrison Police officer stopped by to help Howard move to a safer place. An employee of the clinic in front of which he sat brought out water and a snack, further reinforcing his gratitude to local health care workers.

Another woman stopped by to speak with him while he was on the street. He told her he does have prostate, lung and skin cancer and has been told by hospice workers he has only weeks to live.

Howard said he was told that one man can’t change the VA. But he said there was one man 2000 years ago who did change the world, so he wants to try.

But he vowed to continue with his protest until he can no longer keep it up — or until he loses his last fight.

“I’m not afraid to die,” he said. “I lost my fear of dying in Vietnam. But I’m going to man up, Ranger up.”


2 Responses

  1. I had no idea until just a few days ago how bad it is for our Vets. I knew it used to be bad, but I thought it had gotten better. This is criminal. I hope there’s some people in the area that can go out and support him, feed him, and stand with him. Give em hell, Gary!

  2. THESE MEN/WOMEN DESERVE THE BEST CARE MEDICINE HAS,, Since this fight for us chronic pain patient,,I have come to know some vets,,I had no idea,,had BADLY,, they are treated,,I had no IDEA,, they literally put a %%,,,on the level of disability,,,ohhh your leg got blown off defending America,,u get 10% disabilitypayment,,,wtf,,, IS THAT,, I never knew there was a percentage of disability these men/women had to FIGHT for,,,,jmo,,they should never have to fight for access to medical care Since they went to war for this country,,,Our Vets are being hit hard by the cdc guidelines,,jmo,,,22 a day are forced to use death to stop the physical pain from war injuries,,My friend who isa nurse,,had her patient literally take a 12 gage to his chin,,WHILST SHE WAS ON THE PHONE W/HIM,,,,he just said,,IM TIRED,,IM TIRED ,,IM DONE,,,,,,these people deserve the best and its DISGUSTING,, they have to fight for it,,Its like America is more then willing to go to war,,,but does not want to PAY the consequence for that decision,,,

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