My VA Story

  1. I am reposting this from were I origionaly posed it in the Government/Military Forum.

    So over a week I cared for an older gentelman. He was a farmer and had fallen from his hay mow. Several times he expressed concern about what it was costing him to be in the hospital. He also shared stories with me about his days in the army during WWII. He had fought in Normandy on D-Day and beyond until captured and made a POW. I asked why if he was WWII vet he didn't go to the VA for care? He said that never occured to him but that he would like to look into it (he haden't see a doctor for any reason since 1945). I got on the phone and talked to the social worker at the VA. She said he wasn't in their system but if he was a vet to gather his paper work and send him down. Our doc talked to their doc and I made arrangment for an ambulance to transport him. I called his daughter and asked her to bring in all his documents from his army service. She arrived with a big brown envelope that I just handed to the paramedic as they were wheeling him out the door. I didn't look at the documents.
    The next day I arrived at work just in time to see the old farmer being wheeled back into our ICU. My nurse manager was standing there and I asked what happend? Why wasn't he at the VA? Without saying a word she handed me the documents I had sent down with him. Stamped on the front it said, in big red letters "NOT ELLIGABLE FOR BENIFITS".
    Turns out that while he had indeed served in WWII and fought in Normandy, he had been in the German army!
    My hospital ended up having to eat the transportation cost both ways. My manager was none to pleased with me. Somehow it just never occured to me to ask the old farmer if it had been the US army he served in.
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    Joined: Jul '06; Posts: 6,944; Likes: 12,384


  3. by   netglow
    Oh if that doesn't beat all. Hey how would you have known? Watch he was just some average guy forced to fight and then decided he'd had it with his country and came here to become an American. That generation. Most of them did come here to be Americans. Can't say that for many today. Maybe he's been a good citizen all these years too. But watch, I'm probably wrong, next thing you'll find out that he's a wanted man for war crimes or something and was hiding out as a farmer or something! Your NM was kinda a B for being angry with you.
  4. by   BrandonLPN
    It never occurred to the daughter that gathered his documents that having been in the German army *might* disqualify him from VA benefits?
  5. by   classicdame
    In my facility the staff nurse would not handle this anyway. Only the case managers or social workers.

    Except for the stress on the patient, the situation is kinda funny
  6. by   workingharder
    When he answered your inquiries with, "I know noTHING!!", it might have been a clue.
    My age is showing.
    Last edit by workingharder on Feb 21, '13
  7. by   PMFB-RN
    Quote from classicdame
    In my facility the staff nurse would not handle this anyway. Only the case managers or social workers.
    *** Same with us normaly but our social work department kinda sucked, it was a weekend (social workers don't work on weekends there) and I already had experience dealing with issues like this. For example I once got a young man let out of jail to visit his father who was expected to die in our ICU. I have gotten several military people sent home from Iraq and Afghanistan for emergency leave.
    The rest of the story is that the man had come to America when he was a baby with his parents. After high school his parents sent him back to Germany to attend agriculture college. The Germans viewed him as a German citizen and drafted him into the army. Thats why he spoke accent free english.
  8. by   twinmommy+2
    Wow that was a funny story lol. Thank you though seriously for looking out for your patient.
  9. by   nurse_1234
    hey working, I am right there with you!!! SCHULTZ!!! And I will be 50 next month!