Skip to comments.Joe Geoghagan Is A 31 Year Old Veteran And He’s Begging The VA Not To Let Him Starve To Death
Posted on 07/04/2014 6:45:20 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Joe Geoghagan is a 31 year old veteran and hes begging the VA not to let him starve to death.
Let me repeat that.
Joe Geoghagan is a 31 year old veteran and hes BEGGING the VA not to let him starve to death.
Joe first came to my attention because he wrote the Right Wing News Facebook page asking for help. Imagine that: a veteran who did three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan reduced to writing the owner of a Facebook page because he doesnt know where else to turn to get basic medical attention.
After doing some basic research to confirm Joes story, I reached out to him. It was difficult to discuss the case on the phone because after years of being mistreated and ignored, Joes story pours out of him like a flood now that he has someone listening. Almost without taking a breath, Joe produced countless details about the snubs, red tape, and frustration of dealing with the VA for the last few years. Although youd expect anger even red hot fury there was more of a sense of desperation in Joes voice.
Yet all the while, my mind kept turning back to the central, almost inconceivable reality Joe is being forced to deal with: The VA is allowing him to starve to death.
This saga began for Joe back in 2008 when he left the service after spending four and a half years in the Navy. Joe developed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during his service, although he didnt know what to label it at the time. He just knew he was anxious, depressed, and aggressive towards friendly people who didnt deserve it. Joe reached out to the VA at that point, but was told he was perfectly fine and didnt need any treatment after a cursory ten minute interview with a doctor.
Joes problems with PTSD continued and although he managed to get a job as a military contractor, more physical symptoms started to plague him as well. He began experiencing a lot of nausea and semi-regularly throwing up his food. Eventually, his increasingly frequent vomiting made him too sick to work and he was fired from his job. His fiancée didnt like the changes she had seen in Joes behavior and left him before he was ever diagnosed with PTSD. Money was hard to come by as well and Joes depression worsened. He even tried to kill himself at one point.
Then, Joe had his first glimmer of hope in a long while: in late 2012, he realized he was still eligible for treatment at the VA. Initially, Joe was treated by the VA in Washington State and perhaps surprisingly, given the beating that the VA has taken in the press lately, he had nothing but good things to say about his treatment in that state. After a long, dark period, things were finally starting to look up.
But, there was trouble on the horizon. Joe was moving to Alabama and he was warned by his doctor that the VA in that state had a rub some dirt on it approach to medicine and that he shouldnt expect the same quality of care he had been getting in Washington. Joe was a little concerned, but he didnt really expect to see a big drop-off in the level of care he was getting.
Little did Joe know how bad things were about to get.
After he moved to Alabama, Joes problem with throwing up his food grew considerably worse. In fact, it got so bad that he could no longer hold ANYTHING down. If Joe ate two bites of food, he threw it up. Even liquid nutrition like Boost shakes were quickly regurgitated. Unfortunately for Joe, the VA wasnt exactly quick to address his problem, nor did it EVER treat it with the seriousness it deserved.
In fact, to this day, more than a year and a half after the VA started treating Joe, no one has figured out WHATS WRONG WITH HIM. In other words, after all this time no one at the VA can even tell Joe why hes throwing up. If Malia Obama somehow walked into the VA with the exact same problem, you could be sure that someone would have a diagnosis and treatment plan prepared for her in 72 hours. Unfortunately, Joes not a VIP. Hes not a big donor to a political campaign. Hes not the son or daughter of an important man. Hes just a soldier who risked his life to serve his country.
Despite the fact that the VA hasnt taken Joes case seriously enough to even figure out whats wrong with him, a doctor cut a hole in his stomach and ran a tube into it. That allows Joe to spend 13 HOURS EVERY DAY feeding Boost shakes into his body while he wastes away. At one point in his life, Joe had been as heavy as 267 pounds. During his military career, he carried 220 pounds on his frame. After he started throwing up in his contracting days, Joes weight dropped down to 190. When he had the tube put in his stomach, Joe weighed 140 pounds. Today? Joe is at 130. How much more weight can Joe lose and stay alive? Hes already so weak that hes had to move back in with his parents again so they can take care of him. What must that be like for Joes poor parents? Imagine watching your 31 year old child slowly starve to death in front of you while the VA shrugs its shoulders. Joe even told me that his poor mother said that she feels Joe is going to die at home, slowly and wither away while they just take their sweet time keeping me in the red tape.
In fact, Joe wrote me this week-end to let me know that the VA has decided that his stomach problems arent its responsibility any more.
Hey Mr Hawkins
I just got my ratings decision in the mail from the VA dated the 24th of June this year. They say that my stomach issues .are not related to my military (service).
I also received a letter saying that theyre not going to pay for my pump anymore, I mean the pump that feeds me through my tube. Theyre not going to pay for the supplies anymore either, the feeding bags the syringes etc. So to summarize theyre not going to pay me and now theyre going to stop providing me nutrition.
Ive never felt so small or so betrayed in my entire life. After what Ive done for my country and what I continue to go through today. I just cant stop crying. How can they do this to a veteran, I just dont understand.
After youve cut a hole in a mans stomach and put a tube into it, it would seem to be a little late in the game to decide that its not your problem anymore. Yet, thats exactly where were at today. Sick as he is, IF he can even get an appointment, Joe drives 40 miles to see a doctor and says hes typically left waiting for 3-4 hours before he can get in to receive substandard care. Joe told me, After three combat deployments for my country, I gave it 150% for my nation. Then I come home and I cant get 30% effort, it feels like. It makes my jaw drop, it makes me cry, it makes me want to implode and explode at the same time. Its the ultimate betrayal.
As an American, what do you say to a man after he says that to you and YOU KNOW HES RIGHT? We talk a lot about supporting the troops. Is this it? Leaving a man who served his country to starve to death? Thats just not right. Its just not acceptable. Maybe the problems the VA has are so big that the people reading this article cant fix them, but I believe with all my heart that we can do something for Joe Geoghagan.
What can we do?
First of all, I may not have the juice to get the VA to treat Joe Geoghagan, but there are people who do. If the offices of Alabama Senators Jeff Sessions or Richard Shelby were to get interested in this case, it might get some people moving at the VA. Joes Congressman is Robert Aderholt. He may also be able to get the VA to decide it matters whether Joe lives or dies. Additionally, if youre a specialist, particularly one in Alabama who might be able to diagnose Joes problem, it would be incredibly helpful. Also, if you have a few bucks to spare, Joe could really use the contribution here. Failing all of that, just spreading this story far and wide by sharing it across Twitter and Facebook could make a difference. There is someone out there who can get Joe Geoghagan the help he needs and if we cant do it, lets get his story to an even bigger outlet that can make it happen for him.
Joe Geoghagan is a 31 year old veteran and hes begging the VA not to let him starve to death
.and its up to those of us reading this article to find a way to save his life.
What did he do in the Navy to get PTSD?
It doesn’t say.
Boatswain’s Mate .
Yes, before commenting I would love to know more. Did he serve in any way with boots on the ground otherwise his story just doesn’t ring true.
Looks like boots on the ground to me. Age is about right, too.
Apologis for the long link.
I hate to say it, but this is what happens when a generation of people who got participation trophies and regular boosts of self-esteem for no reason go to war.
Is this him?
Hammer hits nail.
Far as I can tell. 4 different sources link the same photo to his story.
Not going to hand on heart confirm it to you, and someone better with the research might want to take over from here, but that’s what I managed to dig up.
If photo is, in fact, him, then he has an argument. If not, he will just have to suck it up and move on. Many of us who served in VN (and many who serve in Korea) learned to live with it and most gradually worked their way out of it and moved on with our lives.
A whole generation did this after WWII.
I’m so sorry Mr. Geoghagen, US vet.
But we don’t have funds left for you after we feed all of the poor children pouring over the border.
Bullshiite! There isn’t anything in the article that would even come close to supporting your ignorant theory. Some days this site really pisses me off. F@%#g keyboard warriors need to shut their damn pieholes!
Active Duty/ V A ping.
pro life ping
He could have been a Corpsman in a Marine Corps rifle company.
Terri’s list ping?
Or a SEABEE, or a SEAL, Special Warfare Boat Operator or EOD.
Exactly! There are many sailors who get down in the mud. Even the ones who spend their careers on a ship deserve our damn respect. Anyone who has the balls to put the uniform on deserves our respect. I’m very disappointed with some of the comments on this thread. I expect this crap from the clowns on DU, not the people here.
Oh, I’ve seen worse here, believe it or not.
But what did he do?
True - they did. My grandfather had trouble sleeping after the war, so did my uncles, but they did indeed suck it up and get on with it.
The Vietnam vets I am privileged to know (very few, sadly) seem to have troubles as well, though most of them have happy and productive lives on the surface.
I’m actually wondering more if there wasn’t another round of “inject them with anti NBC potions” when he was on active. You remember GW1? Lots of strange, inexplicable and very long term illness in the US forces - the UK forces had none, and the ONLY difference was US forces got these injections.
I do know a small amount about PTSD - and daily vomiting is rarely a symptom. Not never, but vanishingly rare.
Anyway - if anyone can fully confirm that is him, or can confirm the story has validity (try telling me that on a board with a good 3/4 Vet population there isn’t a single person that can scope it out), I’d appreciate it.
How can we help?
How can we help?
Now THAT is a classy response! *salute*
What difference does it make? If he served in the military his health needs should be taken care of by the VA for life. Period. And our Vets should be getting the finest care in the world, you know, like all the freaking congressmen and senators (spit)
He shouldn’t be getting treated for PTSD if he hasn’t been in a PTSD situation.
After WWII my father was like that and they never figured out why but they solved the problem by cutting something and he literally couldn’t throw up.
Vets cannot use the VA just because they served. Hey have to be disabled.
And what pray tell is a ptsd situation in your highly educated experienced opinion?
It may not be PTSD. He might have gotten something into him that’s eating away at his nervous system or some such.
Remember how long and hard the VA fought to refuse to even acknowledge any issues stemming from Agent Orange exposure?
And the neurological issues that some of the veterans of Desert War 1 came home with?
Imo, PTSD is becoming one of those diagnosis tags thrown onto some folk after doctors simply get tired of trying to figure out what’s wrong. Not saying there’s not a real PTSD, but that PTSD has become so publicized, it’s an easy tag to hide lazy, stupid and/or mystified medical practitioners too.
Something’s wrong with the guy. But it doesn’t really sound like a psychological issue, so much.
Hmm ... points to ponder. Thanks for a different perspective.
So what did he do to get PTSD?
The man is suffering, probably dying, and you're saying it's from a candy-a$$ self-esteem problem?
The VA hasn't even given him a real diagnosis. Sure, PTSD, but it could have a more complicated etiology, such as some damn parasite or mycoplasma or neurological deterioration from chemical exposure, or any number of things he could have picked up in 3 tours of duty in Iran and Afghanistan.
Your attitude, basically "Sight unseen, I'm saying he's a spoiled brat like the rest of his generation," floors me.
Well I dont know. He had boots on the ground during the surge so he may have seen and experienced lots of crap.
Also from my experience being out for ten years and being treated vets dont like talking about it to outsiders. Vets are treated best with other ones preferably from the same war. It took me 7 years to come to term with my ptsd..I hope they get to him quicker.
This is what to expect when the government controls your health care.
The VA has not managed to diagnose him but somehow seems to be convinced whatever may be wrong with him is not related to his military service? How does that work?
I have no idea how to get him care, I hope someone can get him treated by a competent doctor.
There was a case like that in the Readers Digest a few months ago, kid was throwing everything up almost immediately. I’ll see if I can dig it up.
He needs to move back to the other VA.
I'm not a subject expert in medicine, but those symptoms sound like some sort of poisoning.
Turned out to be a problem with the esophagus
There’s another similar case I read about, but I’ll FReepmail the details to you.
I thank you for making that comment, it made me swell with pride, for reasons I can’t even explain.
I pray this young man gets the much deserved help he needs.
Why is he waiting on the VA? Someone needs to walk him into any hospital emergency room. Now.
If he doesn’t have Obamacare, he can sign up for it after the fact. A physician may be able to submit the paperwork for him to receive state disability (check with the doc). He could have something minor or something major going on with him but waiting around on the government isn’t going to make things better.
Thanks for posting. Hopefully, some publicity will help him. Based on personal experience with my son at several VA facilities, the story sounds believable. As a parent, it was like being alone in the ocean trying to get help. One good thing has come from the recognition of how bad the VA can be, and that is that these soldiers now know they are not alone.
Thanks for the ping - jeepers.
This February, my very-first trip to VA for a long-lasting disease in my left eye, resulted in an hour+ of "getting registered". A week later, a letter from the VA refused me service. (Paraphrasing, here):
"If you had just served in Iraq or Afghanistan, or were a victim of a sexual assault, we could take you in. Your assets also preclude service to you. You can take an appeal..(etc)"
This result was of a "new law" in 2009. I must have missed the memo.
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