Thursday, July 26, 2007

Army Wives Take Action - Women Bypass VA To Get Better Care For Their Injured Husbands

There have been heartbreaking stories about the shoddy level of veterans' care since the beginning of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Two Army wives decided that wasn't good enough for them, and, as CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports, they took matters into their own hands.

"I just couldn't accept what we were being told by the VA," says Marissa Behee.

Behee is not a soldier, but she's one of the fiercest warriors of the Iraq War. Ever since her husband, Staff Sgt. Jarod Behee, was shot in the head, she has been fighting for him — and against a Veterans Administration she says was unprepared for the needs of grievously wounded soldiers.

"It's not just Jarod. I mean, he's one of how many that are coming home with a signature head wound. There are so many more out there, and this cannot continue to happen to all those people coming home," she says.

A sniper's bullet drove fragments of Jarod's skull deep into his brain. He probably would not have survived in an earlier war, according to Dr. Rocco Armondo.

With Jarod's life saved, the next battle was at the Palo Alto, Calif., VA hospital where, Marissa says, her husband wasn't getting the therapy he needed.

"It felt like we were just in this holding pattern and our next step in their book was a nursing home," she said. "To me, that wasn't a great plan."

On her own, Marissa found Casa Colina, a private rehabilitation hospital in southern California.

Marissa says she saw a change in Jarod immediately.

"We went from three months at the VA telling us that Jarod can't do this, he can't do that. Then we came here and they got him on his feet and tried walking him around the gym, just to see what he was capable of and to know what they had to work on."

How did it feel to Jarod?

"It felt great," he says. "I was actually getting therapy."

Despite his brain injury, Jarod was capable of walking and more; he was able to work as a hospital assistant. Had Marissa not been so persistent, she says, Jarod "would be sitting in a nursing home right now."

With her battle won, Marissa went to work on a Web site , Wounded Soldier Staff Sgt Jarod Behee, to tell other families what Casa Colina had done for her husband.

read more at CBS news or see the CBS print this page.

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President George W. Bush's statement in March 2006 after 3 yrs of war "a future President will have to resolve war in Iraq"


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