HALEY VA INADEQUATE TO TREAT NEW POLYTRAUMA by Roxanne Escobales

08/30/06

Every day headlines bring fresh news of the fatal consequences of war. Each bomb or ambush in Iraq and Afghanistan means that military personnel return home with a new type of injury unseen in previous conflicts. It’s called polytrauma. Today a house subcommittee heard how Tampa’s James A Haley VA Medical Center, which is the largest in the country, does not have adequate resources to help the influx of wounded soldiers coming home from the Middle East.

ACT:

That was Dr Steven Scott, chief of physical medicine and rehabilitative services at the Haley, making a presentation to the House VA oversight subcommittee today at the hospital in North Tampa. The subcommittee forum was led by its chair, US Congressman Mike Bilirakis. The Republican Bilirakis represents Florida District 9, where the Haley is located. This is his last term in office before November elections.

And Democrat Phyllis Busansky wants his seat in Congress. A former Hillsborough County Commissioner, Busansky led the way in creating the county’s indigent health care system. She told WMNF that Congress is to blame for polytrauma.

ACT:

The Haley’s Dr Scott said that in the past year, the polytrauma rehabilitation center has treated 75 patients. Because of the specialized services needed, the current space at the hospital is inadequate.

ACT:

A two-story expansion of the polytrauma unit is under construction that will add 50 beds. Also being built in part of the parking lot is a wing that will be able to house family members and guests of patients visiting from afar. But according to congressional candidate Phyllis Busansky, this is not enough.

ACT:

The subcommittee forum heard that each day 900 veterans are moving to Florida. Within the next decade, the state will overcome California in the number of vets living here. But there is growing awareness of veterans’ needs within Florida’s government.

Warren McPhearson, executive director of the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs

ACT:

The US has spent almost 500 billion dollars on the global war on terror. Phyllis Busansky says that each day 8 billion dollars is spent on the Iraq war, and only one billion dollars is needed for the VA. She has a solution for the discrepancy.

ACT: If we can’t care for our veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan then we better get out.

That was Democratic Congressional candidate, Phyllis Busansky, who is running for Mike Bilirakis’s District 9 seat against his son, Gus Bilirakis.

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