Lawmaker, mom want changes to VA

Published: Mar. 23, 2018 at 5:45 PM EDT
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Her son fought for our country and now she is fighting for him. Earlier this month the mother of a 28-year old army veteran called us after having trouble getting her son the PTSD treatment he needs.

The story caught the attention of Congressman John Moolenaar. News 10's Alani Letang was there when the two met in person Friday

Where, when, and why did the ball get dropped for treatment of army veteran Sergeant Adam Davis? That is the question that his mother, Sana Gaffney and Congressman Moolenaar are trying to answer as they talked about the VA system in Michigan.

U.S. Congressman John Moolenaar, (R) Midland/ MI-4th District, said, "We want our veterans to get the best possible care, and that's not happening." After hearing what Sana had to say he said, "first it's disappointing to hear how Sana and Adam were treated and it's unacceptable. It's something we need to change and when it comes down to caring for our veterans we ought to make it the highest priority."

US Army Veteran Sergeant Adam Davis was deployed to Haiti after their 2010 earthquake. When he returned home his family said he was never the same again. He suffered his first seizure November 2017; it would be the first of many hospital visits. Adam has been diagnosed with severe PTSD, non-epileptic seizures, anxiety and depression. Two weeks ago Adam was at Sheridan Hospital waiting for any VA facility to take him.

"When I started making phone calls to the VA, I was treated like North Korea, I was treated like the enemy. No one of the Michigan VA's they all said nope we can't take him so good luck to you, and that was it," said Sana Gaffney. Sana said that something in the VA system needs to change. "This can't happen. The roadblocks I've incurred along with the hospital, who can navigate that system? I've made hundreds of phone calls, sent dozens of emails," said Sana.

Congressman Moolenaar, a father of three veterans, said no vet should be denied treatment. He told News 10 " there needs to be consequences when people don't care and tell someone 'hey we can't help you' and they don't take the next step of saying 'if we don't have the resources or the capabilities to serve we are going to find out who does and we are going to make it happen.'"

So Sana told the congressman that she went to her elected officials for help. She called Senator Debbie Stabenow and even the White House VA Intervention line and spoke with a supervisor. That supervisor told her to call some other numbers that could help. But after Sana told the supervisor she had already called those numbers, he/she told her, "I'm impressed, you have found, walked through, painted, changed the locks on every door I can send you to, I'm sorry as a veteran and the member of the VA, I apologize to you and your son I don't know what else to tell you to do."

Sana said she was told new veteran facilities in Michigan are in the works but that doesn't help her now. She ended up driving her son to Salem, Virginia for treatment.

Sana said she told Sen. Stabenow it was a great initiative "but what are you doing today, what are you going to do today, for all those vets who since this all occurred with my son? I have gotten text messages, emails, phone calls from people all over the country saying how did you do this?"

Sana went on to question the immediate urgency of the matter, "those buildings are three-five years plus down the road what are you doing today for all these vets?"

Sana she didn't mind driving her son down to Salem, Virginia. In early March, Sana told us that she would be willing to "drive to Peru" if that's what it took to get her son the treatment he needed. Congressman Moolenaar said it's something she shouldn't have to do.

"As we learn more, what is it that we weren't able to provide here in Michigan? And we don't know all the information to where the ball was dropped but we need to find the answers to that so that it doesn't happen again," said Moolenaar.

When Sana goes to pick Adam up Friday, March 23, 2018, from Virginia, he will need inpatient PTSD treatment but there's a 4-6 month waiting list.

"That's not acceptable," said Moolenaar. "But what do I do with him for the next four to six months? What do all these parents do with their sons and their daughters who are in the exact same situation, and are dying?" Sana asked.

After all this work this isn't about just Sgt. Davis. He and his mother want to make sure their fight is for all veterans.

Sana told us about a conversation she and Adam had. "He said, 'Mom this isn't about me, this is about everybody else that doesn't have you to speak for them.' And I promised him that I should not stop."

Moving forward, Congressman Moolenaar will be working with Sana to help fix some of the many issues they say the Michigan VA system has.

Including, hopefully going to Congress in Washington D.C. In addition, Sana said she has a meeting with Senator Stabenow next week.

We will let you know what happens.