Vietnam Veteran Larry separated from service after 20 years when he began having problems with his heart. He credits VA with saving his life.

Why you were medically retired?


I developed a severe heart condition in Okinawa. So I was physically discharged. 1985, I started with the VA program. I joined the Disabled American Veterans and had a nice representative. And we fought to tie that in with Agent Orange. A VA doctor took real interest in my condition and said, we’re going to get to the bottom of this. So, I put on a Holter monitor and wore it for three days and nights. I was sleeping when the phone started ringing. We couldn’t understand the doctor on the phone: He was telling me to get to the hospital right away, right now. Come to find out I had V-tach. And V-tach is the cause of sudden death also.

You’d been in V-tach for a while and didn’t know it? 

Didn’t know it. So that phone call saved my life. VA saved my life by rushing me to get a pacemaker defibrillator. I could’ve died in my sleep without knowing it. I know there’s problems sometimes, waiting times and things like that, but you have to remember there’s thousands of us [Vietnam Veterans] – not just a couple hundred. There’s thousands and thousands of us now who are really starting to show the delayed symptoms of say, Agent Orange, or ALS, or type 2 diabetes. Now they’re getting the treatment through the VA system and the care system for their health problems. But as the years progressed, I really believe in the last couple years, now that they recognize ALS, different types of diabetes, and things like this, I feel that I got really fantastic treatment.

The VA here saved my life. The nurses and staff at this local VA saved my life.

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By Bronwyn Emmet is a public affairs specialist for VA's National Veterans Outreach Office

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Published on Nov. 24, 2021

Estimated reading time is 1.7 min.

Views to date: 434


  1. newell mitchell November 26, 2021 at 3:36 pm

    don’t forget the vet here in Kansas Cty that was killed in the parking lot by the VA police a couple of years ago.

  2. Alvin P Lyda November 25, 2021 at 2:52 pm

    I get my healthcare from VA because they stiffed me for $2500 when I went with written permission for outside help! Can’t complain about the care I get but TriWest people are pathetic liars.

  3. Kenny vaden November 25, 2021 at 12:45 pm

    I have a similar story. A V A nurse practitioner discovered an extremely high white blood cells which after a few days of hospitalization testing for the reasons multiple myeloma was diagnosed. I had had care over the years with good insurance but when I started using the V A I realized that my care was better than it had ever been. Nothing but accolades for the Nashville V A campus.

  4. Jerry W. Kelley November 25, 2021 at 11:08 am

    Yes the VA is outstanding in their job! But that was not the problem with the war. The problem was or government lied about the war and who started it. Our government, the mighty United States of America, lied when they told the Vietnam attacked the USA first! That was a lie! The great USA attacked them first and that started the war! And what did the mighty USA get out of that? Many thousands dead!

  5. Nolen Thomas November 25, 2021 at 10:50 am

    It took me 30 + years to go to the VA. So the last 20 years all my medical needs have been with the VA. I can’t say enough good things about the people from checking in to the top surgical doctors I’ve had the opportunity to meet and treat me. When you call in for anything they go out of there way to get you directed in the right direction. I can’t say enough good about all the good people they have got working at the Fort Ord and Palto Alto VA. Thank you with all my heart. Nolen Thomas. 1971-1973 USMC 0311

  6. Gary L Burton November 25, 2021 at 5:20 am

    Bull sht, only a lifer would support VA

  7. Dane Whaley November 24, 2021 at 9:03 pm

    I have to say a word about my VA Clinic in Salina, Kansas. I’m a very ordinary Viet Nam ERA Vet, I’ve never been close to a battle, but the atmosphere in that Clinic can make anyone feel like a ‘war hero’ – Thank you.

  8. Ernie Howe November 24, 2021 at 5:53 pm

    One out of how many dead? Good for you pal, but don’t forget the 200 dead in Phoenix, the man who died with over 200 ant bites on his body, the guy in Oklahoma where they found maggots under his bandages, a guy I know with a spot of cancer on a kidney. VA solution, cut off half the kidney. AREAL doctor, you know, a doctor that keeps you thru integrity & professionalism vs herded by the govt like cattle going to slaughter, the 75 year old combat vet with 35 year in law enforcement thrown to the floor by four fat bald tough guy VA cops breaking his shoulder requiring multiple surgeries. His offense? Ignorant cop asked for his ID which he had already put in security bin where that same cop had already slid his possessions down the table,, the Salisbury, NC Director telling employees to “Fluff the appt numbers.” The 370 vets used to test the orange faced draft dodging cowards Hydroxychorloquine cure for Covid. 38% of the 370 died. Try to findvout if the VA got 370 signed consent forms to bevusedcas a Guinea Pig for the Pig in Chief! Or the guy who died taking a shower in a Fla. facility left laying the for about 18 hours before being bagged up. And just 1 more here. The 22 year vet who was a veteran for just 7 days. Overdosed with Daladen by Asheville (Charles George Ctr) VA ER & was swept under the rug in a settlement where his spouse had to sign an NDA (NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEEMENT) basically letting the VA off the hook. Gee, ya think the VA lawyers dangled that settlement in frontbof her along with the NDA. Another murder swept under the rug. The VA employee who just got 7 life sentences fir killing 7 vets & they didn’t bother prosecuting the other 20 the think she killed.
    So the VA finds a few who apparently got lucky & they can’t wait to put out that propaganda to any sucker who thinks this country actually cares about us!
    Just be careful Buckaroo. You got lucky this time, but they ARE capable of killing vets & hiding it. Remember the mission of the VA is to Protect the System, Get those statistics looking good for those bonuses & promotions, and to either get some VA trading & get rid of their student loans. And lasting, the cowards in Washington who are afraid of the VA because ascsoon as they say how screwed up the VA is the other side will say they hate veterans!
    GIVE VETS THE OPTION OF PAID MEDICARE WHERE A VET CAN.OPT OUT & BACK IN IF THEY DON’T LIKE MEDICARE. PAID according to the vets disability rating & have a graduated payment scale for non 100%ers could pay for full benefits. And the VA would have NO say in choice of Doctors or meds. or treatment. Ifvthe VA is so wonderful & vets love it so much, put your money where your BS is VA & give us the option? You won’t because we’d be leaving in droves & thus no more govt. cash cow for these medical people that apparently can’t make a living in the REAL WORLD, so they hide under the govt. umbrella!
    I wouldn’t take my dog to a VA hospital! I use Comm. Care but detest the fact I have to get permission by the VA God for my doctor to treat me!
    And lastly, I wonder ifvthe VA ever found the $980 million (20 million shynof a billion dollars) the VA (IG’s words here) “Misplaced” a couple of years ago? The VA has gotten way to big & out of control!
    So in a nutshell, don’t believe this guy’s BS! He got lucky if his story is true!
    A Disgusted Vet who started learning about the poor care with BIG lies back on 1971.

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