By Ed Coghlan.
Did the Fighting Marine Robert Rose win or lose Tuesday in U.S. Federal Court in Greeneville, Tennessee?
Depends on how you look at it?
From a legal point of view, he lost.
A Federal Judge rejected Rose’s attempt for an injunction that would have forced his Congressman (Phil Roe) and his Veterans Administration Hospital Mountain Home VA Center in Johnson City, to talk about Rose’s claim that treatment for his chronic pain was denied.
Rose, who took on his Quixotic adventure versus a huge federal bureaucracy without the benefit of a lawyer, lost but, in defeat, he may have won.
First of all, Congressman Roe, ironically (or maybe not ironically) is head of the House Veteran’s Affairs Committee.
Rose has challenged Roe for over a year, to simply talk with him.
It started July 4, 2017 when Rose showed up at an event at the VA Center…but was denied his opportunity to speak with his Congressional Representative. The National Pain Report was there, at least on the telephone.
What did Congressman Roe do?
As one long-time observer of Tennessee politics who wished to remain anonymous told the National Pain Report Tuesday, “Robert was marginalized and was made invisible and stigmatized by his own Congressman. It’s a tragedy.”
What did Robert do?
Thanks to his own expertise in developing a following on social media, and the National Pain Report’s interest in his case, Robert has built a narrative that has caught the attention of other veterans.
Here’s one of many examples the National Pain Report has received to Robert’s story:
“I was injured in the 1983 Beirut bombing conflict with neck and lower back injury that resulted in spinal stenosis, psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, PTSD /panic attacks, neuropathy of my feet because of lower back, said Walter Radziszweski, a Connecticut veteran who emailed the National Pain Report on Tuesday. I have been going to the VA mostly at the Newington CT campus which is an outpatient clinic. Specialty care at the West Haven campus and getting timely appointments are just about impossible and return phone calls take days. Care is good, when you can get it!“
For fellow Tennessee resident and nationally recognized chronic pain advocate, Terri Lewis, Ph.D., the Marine’s efforts are starting to pay off.
Dr. Lewis believes Robert’s case is a textbook opportunity for the VA to address its mission to give Rose and other vets the palliative care they deserve.
“I’ve surveyed thousands of chronic pain patients and Robert’s case is typical… The question that Congressman Roe and others ought to be asking is ‘Why hasn’t’ the VA served people like Robert better?” she said.
She believes that Robert and other vets who has been denied care need to continue the fight within the VA to make sure our vets receive their care.
Robert, as he drove into his driveway plainly exhausted, told the National Pain Report, “I’m tired, but I will think about a new strategy about how we best address the issues facing our veterans and others who want to know that addressing their chronic pain is a priority.”
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