March 7, 2007
AUGUSTA, Ga.---The nation's focus now is on how we care for our wounded warriors.
Walter Reed is at the center of the storm, and reporting from the Washington Post sparked congressional hearings and a presidential commission to investigate.
Augusta is home to the only VA active duty rehab facility in the country. News 12 checked it out.
Spc. Crystal Davis has called the Uptown VA in Augusta home since November. She lives there and gets physical therapy twice a day.
"There's not that many people here, and there's a lot of therapists to go with less people...it's like the opposite of Walter Reed," she said.
Crystal lost her leg in an IED blast in Ramadi, Iraq, and came here after spending three months at Walter Reed.
She says having to wait for physical therapy there kept her from getting better.
"There was so many patients and not enough therapists, and I wasn't advancing."
Here, Crystal gets a serious workout twice a day. There are ten therapists for 27 patients. She says at Walter Reed, there were about the same number of therapists for five times the patients.
As for the building at Walter Reed that's drawn so much attention, Crystal's mom Carolyn says she saw it first hand--she stayed there and says she did see cockroaches and disrepair.
"The care that Crystal got--they fixed her, they'd said she wouldn't walk, that she'd lose her other leg, so I thought, well who cares about peeling paint...but then I realized patients need a clean safe place to recuperate in," Carolyn said.
Crystal also says she saw inspectors come through Augusta's VA right after the Washington Post reports on conditions at Walter Reed.
"About a month ago, they came through right after the reports on Walter Reed and generals came through here," she said. "A couple of people came in and said, 'How do you like staying here?' I said, 'It's fine...looks like brand new paint.'"