The Dallas VA Medical Center is offering new help to the most injured North Texas vets – those with multiple wounds– physical and psychological. Monday, officials cut the ribbon on a new $5 million polytrauma center.
The polytrauma suite off a patient wing of the VA Hospital in South Dallas is one of 24 in the VA system nationwide. Chief of Staff Dr. Clark Gregg says the goal is to provide one-stop, comprehensive help for veterans with multiple wounds. Those include traumatic brain injuries and PTSD.
“These are not just physical injuries,” Dr. Clark told those gathered for the official opening of the center. “These are injuries to emotions, to functionality, to psychiatric state. There are so many parts of polytrauma.”
The center has an open feel, with a lot of light, artwork, physical therapy equipment, comfortable consultation rooms. It also has a coffee bar, WIFI and a play area for the children of veterans receiving treatment.
Retired Marine Colonel Bill Dwiggins wears a chest full of medals including a bronze star, purple heart and two Legion of Merit awards. He’s certain the new center will help a lot of people, including him.
“There are the burdens of command and making decisions that young men and women follow without question that you live with that the rest of your life,” Dwiggins said. “And I must tell you, coming here to the North Texas Veterans Medical Center has been a godsend for me.”
VA officials say doctors refer vets to the polytrauma center for evaluation and acceptance into the program. VA hospital director Jeffery Milligan says they can be seen the same day if it’s an emergency. The average wait is expected to be about two to four weeks. Milligan says they’re working hard to cut red tape and get veterans with multiple injuries help as soon as possible.