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Veterans affairs clinic expands services
BEAUMONT - by Lauren Huet
The effects of war on a serviceman, or servicewoman, last a lifetime. Louis Anselmo served during the Vietnam Tet Offensive. Him and the rest of his platoon still suffer from the effects of Agent Orange.
"I have heart problems from it, diabetes, eye problems. I have neuro-muscular problems from it and several other problems that it causes," said Anselmo.
Anselmo said it's important for veterans suffering from exposure to Agent Orange to be treated at Veteran Affair's Clinics, because they know how to treat it. He was also wounded twice in combat when shrapnel metal hit his arm and his leg.
"I was wounded twice and a lot of veterans, they don't have the means to take care of themselves. And I think, since we went out and gave our service, that they're giving this back to us in return," said Anselmo.
According to the Medical Director of the Beaumont Outpatient Clinic, six VA Clinics have opened in the past five years. Another will open this year in Tomball.
Dr. Maurilio Garcia-Maldonado said, "One of the main factors in the difference between a population doing well or not is the access to care."
Without the Beaumont Clinic, Veterans would have to drive an hour and a half to the Houston VA Clinic, which, for many, can be a hardship.
"I'm paralyzed on my left side here, so when I go to Houston, one of my two daughters has to take me and my wife. and you know, they have to miss work in order to do that. But you know, I can come here to Beaumont, me and my wife can on our own."
Most Veterans Affairs specialists work in the Houston clinic. To save patients a drive, many clinics across Texas are starting to set-up video chat appointments for their patients. Clinical Video Technician, Mary Alfred, said patients receive the same service as if they were in Houston.
The Beaumont VA Clinic serves about 11,000 patients. Anselmo said he's glad to have so many veterans living in Beaumont and benefiting from the Clinic.
"It's always good to talk with a veteran and to see what they've gone through," said Anselmo. "And sometimes you find out that you think you're bad off, but you always meet someone else that's in worse trouble than you are."
To see where Veterans Affairs Clinics are located, follow this link: http://www.va.gov/directory/guide/division_flsh.asp?dnum=1