July 21, 2015

Sgt. Shaft caricatureDear Sgt Shaft
I understand that Congressman Carter released a statement concerning the recent shootings of Marines  in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Are you aware of aware of this?

Veteran from Texas

Dear Texas Vet
The following is a copy of the statement issued by Congressman John Carter (R-TX31) following the recent terrorist attack at the Chattanooga, Tennessee military facility. His statement is relevant because the recent shooting that took place on Ft. Hood which is in his district.

I am deeply saddened and disturbed by the recent events that unfolded in Chattanooga. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those Marines who paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving our great nation, and with those who were injured. There have been far too many incidences where we have had to mourn the loss of a soldier or civilian due to shootings on military bases. These events could have been prevented.”

“In May, an amendment I proposed passed the House and was included within the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to allow service members to conceal carry on military installations. After the tragedies at Ft. Hood, I saw the need to empower installation commanders to decide what policy is best and who should be allowed to carry a concealed weapon for their personal or force protection. I have the utmost confidence in our senior military leadership and the soldiers who serve and I trust they will use this new authority to improve security and prevent future tragedies.”

Rep. Carter represents Texas District 31, which includes Fort Hood, the largest military installation in the free world. He serves as Chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Appropriations, is on the Subcommittee for Commerce, Justice and Science and the Defense Subcommittee. 

Shaft Notes
Cardiac surgeons at the Washington DC Veterans Affairs Medical
Center are ushering in a new era of hospital patient care and safety with the implementation of a ground-breaking test used to predict a patient’s risk for acute kidney injury (AKI), a dangerous and costly complication that can present a greater threat than a heart attack.

The medical center is the first hospital in the Mid-Atlantic Region and the Washington DC Metro Area to deploy the NephroCheck Test made by a San Diego-based company. The novel test detects and measures two biomarkers known as tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 2 (TIMP-2) and insulin-like growth factor binding protein 7 (IGFBP-7) then produces an AKI Risk Score that can alert physicians to a patient’s risk of developing moderate to severe AKI.

“Patient safety and quality of care are our highest priorities and I hope and expect that this could be a game-changer in terms of protecting our patients from AKI,” said Carlos Palant, M.D., chief of the Renal Section, and professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine.  “This is one more example of the VA taking a leadership role in bringing cutting edge medicine to patients.”

Acute kidney injury often occurs in conjunction with surgery, trauma or infection, however a lack of symptoms can limit physicians’ ability to prevent onset and manage the condition. A 2014 study of hospitalized U.S. Veterans found that those discharged with a diagnosis of AKI had twice the mortality rate of those diagnosed with myocardial infarction (heart attack).

Doctors at the Washington DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center intend to use the test with cardiovascular surgery and intensive care patients.

“Cardiac surgery patients with either chronic kidney disease or dialysis dependence have increased perioperative morbidity and mortality, and half the long-term survival outcome at five years, compared to patients without preoperative renal disease,” said Dr. Gregory Trachiotis, who serves as chief, Cardiac Surgery at the DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center as well as chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at George Washington University.  “As cardiac surgeons, we have attempted to mitigate the risks of developing AKI; yet this most often occurs after the fact.

Sgt. Shaft Kudos badgeKudos to Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, introduced The Homeless Veterans Services Protection Act with cosponsor Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), which would prevent thousands of homeless veterans from losing access to housing services. VA’s proposed changes to the decades-old policy for homeless services would bar access for veterans who served less that than two years continuously, or who had an other than honorable discharge. This bill would ensure that those changes can never take place. Last week, Sen. Murray toured the Randall Apartments in Tacoma, a 35-unit complex that serves homeless veterans. She also met with representatives from the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs, local housing authorities, and community groups to discuss her new legislation.

“Our veterans made great sacrifices while serving our country and our commitment to them is especially important,” said Senator Murray. “This bill makes it clear that our country takes care of those who’ve served, and we don’t allow bureaucracy to dictate who gets a roof over their head and who doesn’t.… If we ever hope to end veteran homelessness, we must do everything we can to reach this goal, and I want to make sure that the VA’s policies are moving us in that direction.”

“As we work towards ending veterans homelessness, it is imperative that we use federal resources to help our servicemembers and their families in need,” said Senator Mazie K. Hirono, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “Many of our vulnerable veterans saw combat and are fighting PTSD and traumatic brain injury. Instead of leaving these veterans out in the cold, we must ensure access to stable housing and other necessary services. This bill would codify VA practices that have proven to be effective in getting veterans off the street and into housing. I commend Senator Murray on her leadership and am proud to work with her on this important issue.”


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