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Vietnam Veteran requests care decades after enrolling

This Marine Corps Veteran couldn’t have predicted the impact of all the choices he made as he left the Marine Corps in 1967, but there is one that stands out as a really great decision.

Because of the combat related injuries received during his tour in Vietnam, Chuck Beebe didn’t miss a beat when deciding whether to enroll in VA health care.

With his injuries healed and being otherwise young and healthy, Beebe didn’t give health care much thought after enrolling with VA. Working for Sikorsky, he primarily relied on the employer’s private health care which worked just fine for nearly 20 years.

Beebe became financially free to pursue interests that provided him more personal satisfaction and decided to quit his job. He accepted a full-time volunteer position and that experience led to other volunteer positions. When he did go back to work, his new employer didn’t offer health care coverage and Beebe, still healthy, didn’t bother to buy individual coverage.

The heart murmur that was identified during a military physical developed into a more serious heart condition during this period and he realized he couldn’t wait to be seen.

“It was Murphy’s law. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong and at the worst possible time,” Beebe said.

Diagnosed with atrial fibrillation

“I was in a situation where I needed health care and I wouldn’t have had health care if it wasn’t for VA,” he continued.

With his service-connected disability and the fact that he enrolled in VA health care all those years ago, Beebe was able to walk into the emergency room at the nearby New Haven VA in Connecticut for care. 

The staff there were so concerned about his condition they kept him overnight for observation and connected him with their cardiologist the next day.

He was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AFib), an irregular and often very rapid heart rhythm. It’s a serious medical condition that can lead to blood clots in the heart. AFib also increases the risk of stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications.

The VA cardiologist gave him a prescription that proved successful at managing his irregular heartbeat. “Not only did I get good health care, I got the best health care you could imagine,” he said.

Under care from VA, his heart condition was treated and managed. Under his doctor’s advice, Beebe began receiving annual physicals and eventually was back working at Sikorsky.

Beebe is pictured above at Coatesville VA where he receives care for his service-connected injuries.

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