CBS News has done a good job recently about covering issues faced by members of the military including the devastating evidence about the suicide epidemic among vetarans from November 2007 , and other more recent stories Resources: Veteran Mental Health, Congress Vows Action On Vets' Suicides, and the current story about a Elizabeth Whiteside, a young Lieutenant who was admitted to the psychiatric lockdown ward at Walter Reed Army Medical center after trying to kill herself earlier this week. This is the tip of the iceberg, and I am glad that CBS news finds these stories to be important to their viewers.
The general population does not hear about the frequent struggles that military members face and I wonder if they care. The president tells us to go shopping and many do because it is much easier to spend money than to consider what might be happening to that military family who lives down the street. Sometimes the mistreatment happens on the battlefront, sometimes in the hospitals and sometimes on the homefront. We can remember the noise about the deplorable conditions at Walter Reed Army Hospital and with the following publicity and outcries that our veterans deserve better. They do, of course, but we don't hear about improvements because some of the corporate media has decided we'd rather hear about a celebrities crisis d'jour.
The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric will have a report tonight (Thursday) about how military medical malpractice killed Sgt. Carmelo Rodriquez, a marine who served in Iraq. According to the show, CBS News Bryon Pitts investigates in a heart wrenching extensive story, how military doctor's misdiagnosed melanoma to be a harmless wart. Pitts met the marine, child and family by his side, 8 minutes before his death caused by Stage 4 melanoma.
His family insisted to be interviewed instead because they say Sgt. Rodriguez "...said don't let this be it. Don't let this be it. Fight! That's what we're doing. We're going to fight for him."
Laws prohibit the family to sue the military and his family had to pay for the funeral. According a veterans group that track soldiers who are misdiagnosed. There are hundreds of misdiagnosed cases across the country. It will reveal startling details about how family members of deceased servicemen and women have no legal recourse when malpractice among military medical doctors leads to irrevocable harm - and even death.
There are thousands of medical staff in the military who do a good job and many people receive excellent care, but when a story like this is revealed, we need to watch and listen. It is a symptom of the state of healthcare in our country and the military is not immune.
On Monday, at the State of the Union speech, President Bush said about the troops, Our nation is grateful for your courage. We are proud of your accomplishments. And tonight in this hallowed chamber, with the American people as our witness, we make you a solemn pledge: In the fight ahead, you will have all you need to protect our nation. And I ask Congress to meet its responsibilities to these brave men and women by fully funding our troops
With 355 days left in his presidency and his pathetic record on funding the troops and veteran's, his words ring hollow. We can do better for the military, even if our president doesn't act so.