Veteran still fighting...for medical care for those who served - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Veteran still fighting...for medical care for those who served

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The Month of December marks the month Guam's first son died in Iraq. For many veterans, suffering from PTSD the holidays are difficult times. And one person who served shared his personal story and the lack of veteran healthcare here on Guam.

"In 2012 I committed suicide by overdose, by over 100 pills the VA has given me. I was in a coma for three days," said Rodney Cruz.  "Just thinking now, what is it gonna take the VA to do, what's it gonna take for them to reach out and to say this is a priority issue, I mean does it take a person to lose their life?"

It hasn't been an easy journey for Cruz, founder and president of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Persian Gulf Veterans of the Pacific, a Veteran himself, who battles with post-traumatic stress disorder.  "These 20 veterans to include myself our holidays is very much blue because we have to deal with those traumas those repeating traumas that we've experienced in combat," he said.

After fighting abroad, many veterans find themselves fighting personal battles at home. Battles that are treated with medical care, like the Stellate Ganglion Injection or SGB treatment for PTSD. A procedure that Rodney says, out of nowhere, VA healthcare stopped covering on Guam in October, adding, "They just for some reason they said they cannot authorize it because it doesn't meet the policy for Medicare, but we're veterans, we follow under the Department of Veterans Affairs,  the VA doesn't follow Medicare guidelines."

The treatment he says was covered 3 years ago, and directly affects Veteran's quality of life. "A lot of those veterans are having to revert back to medication and pills which puts theme more less involved in their community," he said. "Without this treatment without procedure I can't be an important member to my family, my kids, most importantly a father in general."

Cruz is most upset with the lack of response from Guam Congresswoman Bordallo and Washington officials. "The director for Honololu gave me a coin because I brought the issue up but I thought it was a very disrespectful way and it was very upsetting for me," said Cruz/ With Guam being home to the highest number of veterans per capita, Rodney hopes Veteran healthcare would be treated equally across the board...

And that more education is raised for veterans who suffer daily from PTSD, as he said, "Let the families understand, your son, your brothers, your fathers who have been to combat and diagnosed with PTSD, reach out to them and give them a little bit more support."

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