Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center
Monthly Report from the Director
Scott R. Isaacks, FACHE
Medical Center Director
Red Cross Blood Drive
Oct. 10, 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Bloodmobile at back of VA
Stand Down Against Homelessness
Oct. 19, 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
VA Community Resource & Referral Center
2424 City Hall Ln, North Charleston, SC 29406
For previous Director's Messages, click here.
You can also download a printable version of this message.
September is a special time of remembrance and recommitment in our great nation, as we remember the thousands of lives lost in the 9-11 terrorist attacks that forever marked the landscape of our nation and the heart of its people. The attacks changed our engagement in prolonged warfare, altered the lives of so many who have served, and broadened the need for the highest quality health care for those who entered the theater of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
We also pause each year on September 19 – National Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Recognition Day - to honor the service and sacrifice of American Veterans whose enduring faith in country, family and comrades-in-arms sustained them with a rare courage that continues to inspire our nation. While recovering all our heroes is a top priority, there remain more than 82,000 Americans missing from WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and the Gulf Wars/other conflicts, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. They are not forgotten. One of the highest priorities here at the Department of Veterans Affairs is meeting the needs of our former prisoners of war. They are extraordinary individuals who have endured captivity, suffered extreme deprivation, and sacrificed their own freedoms to preserve the freedom of all Americans.
As we remember, our VA family recommits itself to providing the very best medical care and service to these and all our heroes, continually learning and advancing treatments designed for their specific needs. As you know, our VA is a recognized leader consistently ranking in the Top 10 for quality care according to VA and independent measures. Our world-class medical team specializes in everything from orthopedics to neurosurgery to evidence-based therapies to treat PTSD. And while their clinical expertise is second-to-none, I believe it is their connection with our Veterans that sets them and our VA apart.
Just ask Veteran Joe Sproles. Joe served in Vietnam and developed a significant cardiac condition due to Agent Orange at a very young age. He started coming to our VA in the 1970’s and over the years Cardiologist Michael Zile, MD and our VA have, in his words, saved his life many times. Dr. Zile’s care for Joe goes beyond the exam room. He recognized the symptoms of PTSD and encouraged Joe to seek VA counseling. Today, Joe lives an active, fulfilling life that includes hunting and fishing on a regular basis with his friend Mike Zile. And not a Thursday night goes by without Dr. Zile picking up the phone to give Joe – and several other patient friends – a call just to chat and see how they’re doing.
Health care is personal … for the patient and for the medical team. Each week, I get letters and messages from patients thanking their doctors, nurses, therapists, and other members of our staff for the care given them. They often say what a blessing our VA family is to them. The truth is, ask any of those team members and they will tell you the real blessing is our Veterans. We truly are honored to serve and care for our heroes. Our hope is that will shine through every time a Veteran comes through our doors.
Yours in Service,
Scott R. Isaacks