A triple amputee veteran was denied continuation of his current caregiver services by the Nashville VA Medical center- and the decision was made by an OB/GYN doctor.
Staff Sergeant J.D. Williams lost three limbs in while on a deployment with the 101st Airborne Division in Afghanistan.
“On October 9th, 2010, I led a small 6 man recon team into a village that had a great deal of resistance,” Williams wrote in an October entry in the Retiring Your Boots blog. “As we approached the village, I noticed 5 or 6 enemies close by about 50 meters away. As I was raising my weapon, an IED detonated directly underneath me. My whole life started flashing through my head and I could feel an ice-cold tingling sensation all over my body. When I was able to maneuver myself to my back, I began checking myself for injuries. I raised my left arm and noticed my fingertips were bloody.”
“The Taliban began shooting at me,” he continued. “I tried to get up when I noticed my right arm was no longer there. I pushed myself in the up-right position with my left arm so that I was sitting up. My legs were gone as well. I lay back down and started thinking about life. Chaos going on all around me, I’m laid there thinking I may never see my family, friends, or Montana ever again. My brothers fighting along side me saved my life. Risking their own lives, they quickly got me to safety and fought to get me a med-evac in under 20 minutes, all while exchanging gunfire with the enemy. Their selfless service is a daily reminder that God has greater plans for me.”
After the dust settled and SSG Williams was sent home, his wife, Ashlee Williams, was more than willing to step up and assist him.
Originally assigned as his caregiver by the VA, Mrs. Williams -in addition to being a mother- spends every waking day assisting her husband, taking on tasks such as applying prosthetics, lifting a wheelchair up to ten times a day and other issues.
Naturally, the family depends on the VA to help make ends meet- only the VA has seen fit to lower their “caregiver tier.”
“After 6 years, the Nashville VA Medical Center has made the determination that my triple amputee husband no longer needs a full-time caregiver,” Mrs. Williams wrote on Facebook.
Claiming that the VA assumes that all of her labor is simply part of her “spousal duty,” Williams noted that the decision was made by an unlikely “authority.”
“A Women’s Health Doctor. An OB/GYN at the Nashville VA decided my husband doesn’t need me,” she wrote.
Williams claims that while she was not removed from her caregiver designation, she was allegedly dropped to the lowest possible tier- an alarming initiation of a supposedly vicious “pattern” she’s seen with others in the same position.
“I’ve seen a pattern,” she claimed. “What’s happening is first, the caregiver will be dropped to the lowest tier with the opportunity to appeal. The first appeal is reviewed by the same clinical eligibility team, in my case… a women’s health doctor. In most cases, the appeal is denied and the caregiver is removed altogether.”
Williams claims that by lowering the tier before the appeal and dismissal, the VA only has to pay the caregiver whatever the last pay tier was, meaning the organization can get away with paying the final three months at the lowest tier.
“No-one deserves this,” she wrote. “I will appeal my decision to be lowered and fight for every other caregiver going through this too.”
Williams noted that she had made six attempts to reach the VA Caregiver Support Coordinator on Friday before posting, but ultimately went public due to the VA’s inaction.
Attempts by Popular Military to reach out to the Nashville VAMC have yet to be returned.
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