PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Local veterans staged a protest today against a local veteran clinic.
“I really needed to talk to somebody and there’s nobody to talk to and they don’t care,” said George Fountain, a VA patient.
A few weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Association parted ways with Dr. Stephen Hill, a man the veteran patients confided in most.
No one would say why Dr. Hill no longer works at the VA, but his long-time patients were not happy.
“I just think it’s bad what they did to Dr. Hill. I don’t know the whole story about it and I might be wrong but I feel like they just ousted him out of his job and let me tell you he’s helped a lot of people,” said Andy Magnus, another one of VA’s patients.
At least 20 of Dr. Hill’s patients attended the protest, but they said he had more than 100 patients now abandoned.
Dr. Hill held weekly meetings for the patients and counseled them through their PTSD.
“All I can tell you is my life’s been hell since I came back from Vietnam. Between the American people, how they treated us and the VA system, finally Dr. Hill was one that actually gave us help,” said Fountain.
Group session are limited to 15 weeks.
“But after 15 weeks Dr. Hill always renewed everybody to come back again and I guess that was a thorn in their side but I never saw him turn anybody away either,” said Magnus.
According to a Federal Government study, more than 500,000 U.S. Troops that served in wars over the past 13 years have been diagnosed with PTSD.
“I was very abusive to my family because of my PTSD, anger issues. Dr. Hill helped me quite a bit. I had no trust in people. I didn’t even have trust in god, but that man brought me back to being normal.. Try to be normal anyway,” said Fountain.
VA Community and Public Affairs Chief, Vernon Stewart, didn’t know exactly what is next for these veterans, but he did say the VA is committed to meeting their needs.