Posted : Wednesday Sep 16, 2009 16:35:14 EDT
The mother of a severely wounded Army veteran choked back tears Wednesday as she told attendees of a seminar on veterans’ health care that she believes the government has let her and her son down. “It is very sad this country has let us down so incredibly,” said Leslie Kammerdiener, mother and caregiver of Army Cpl. Kevin Kammerdiener, a 173rd Airborne Brigade soldier who suffered severe burns and brain injuries in a 2008 roadside bomb explosion in Afghanistan. A low point came earlier this year, Kammerdiener said, when her son indicated by hand movements that he wanted to hang himself. She said she called the Veterans Affairs Department asking for help because her son was suicidal; she waited days but got no return call. She got help only after tracking down a doctor at a military event and pleading for help, she said. Kammerdiener told her story at an Alexandria, Va., conference sponsored by the Military Officers Association of America and the U.S. Naval Institute that focused on what the government is doing and should be doing to help combat veterans with invisible wounds such as post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries. Kammerdiener had high praise for the immediate care her son received for his burns at the Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas. But once her son was transferred, care began to erode, she said.