tv NBC10 Issue NBC November 15, 2015 11:30am-12:01pm EST
they're fighting for care. our nation's veterans forced to wait for medical treatment. some even dying before they can get an appointment. today we discuss a plan aimed at fixing the problem. that plus a service dog who stops a local child's headaches. we'll discuss the canine's uncanny ability and how a breakthrough surgery keeps bodie on the job. good morning. i'm keith jones for nbc10 "@ issue." we begin with the massive backlog in u.s. veterans hospitals. the scandal came to a head last year when it was discovered nearly 100 vets died waiting to see a doctor at a va hospital.
20,000 vets were either ignored or workers who were hiding the delays. the problem isn't getting any better. the number of appointments that take longer than 90 days to complete has doubled and now goals calling for patients to be seen within 30 days is not being met. at last check 6,000 veterans at the va hospital in philadelphia wait 30 days or more to see a doctor. with me now is new jersey congressman donald norcross, the sponsor of a bill called the veterans freedom of health care act. it will give veterans the right to choose where they receive their care. the congressman is a member of the house arm serviced and house. you hear those numbers, depressing, frankly. what's your option for seeing care here locally? >> first, there's outrage and
disbelief how we can treat those who serve for us as second-class citizens. so you heard the number. 6,000 veterans are waiting over 30 days here in the delaware valley. myself and tom mcarthur put together a bill which will give the veteran a choice. a choice at the best health care system the world has, and that's here in the united states. >> you said outrage. is that what local vets are expressing to you? >> it's not just local. i returned home last night from afghanistan where we met with a number of our local veterans serving over there who they want to receive the best military equipment when they're in the field, but when they come home, they want predictability and stability. that comes with the health care system that works for everybody. >> how would your bill work?
>> very simply, we give the veteran a choice of what they want to do. the va system was designed in the 1930s. it has evolved over the years but one thing we know for sure it's a paralleled and unequal system. we have the greatest health care in the world but our veterans can't get a choice to it. so it's a vet from my district comes up from woodbury, gets by, passes by kennedy hospital, cooper hospital, and a half dozen urgent clinics to go to a system he had to wait 30 days. it's insane. it really is. what we're saying is if you like the veteran system and they do some great things over there, whether it's the prosthetics or traumatic brain injury, keep going there. but if you want to make sure you can go around the corner where your spouse is able to go in a couple days or in a day, you should be able to do it.
it is a very simple bill that says we're going to extend the veterans choice act across the entire country. >> if you opt out, will it cost more money? >> you're not going to opt out. it will be just a different pathway. right now we pay 100% of the cost in the system. this is set up similar to medicare where you can go to any provider for medicaid, but you're doing it from the veteran's perspective. it's very simple and can, quite frankly, the average person on the street says, why can't i get access to the greatest health care system right here at home. >> how does your bill differ from the veterans choice program? >> veterans choice is a little complicated. it's a pilot program that runs out in 2017. it says you have to be over 40 miles. it has changed once because it was as a bird's fly. but if you're southern jersey,
you're within 20 miles but -- >> unless you're in a rural area. >> but those in the valley area waiting over 30 days, 6,000 of you, we want to change that. >> this requires the veterans of affairs to report to congress about veterans even when they get care outside of the va. how do you suppose that will work? >> very simply. what we don't want to do is disband the entire va system. there are many veterans that feel close and they want to be able to go to the veterans hospital because that's helping vets. we want to make sure that's maintained but we want him to report back how the system is working for those who go outside the traditional va system to the best health care system in the world. kids have a choice but we also say to the secretaries, you report back to us and make sure we understand it's starting to work. >> support for your bill, republicans, are they on board?
>> no question there's bipartisan support across the entire legislature but it's a members of which congress and what bill. >> if it was up to us, this bill would pass tomorrow. >> the bill would no doubt drive up costs. hypothetically thinking about that. where do you think the money would come from? >> well, the pot of money is already there. you have a system that's being entirely financed, which is the va system. there are those who don't want to throw any more money at the problem. what i say is, cutting money from the system is not helping anybody. there's two parallel paths. there's not additional health care, just more choices. >> transitioning away from this. i grew up in new egypt, new jersey, 15 minutes from joint base mcguire-dix-lakehurst. on tuesday the senate cleared legislation that protects that base president. obama vetoed similar legislation. do you think the president might
use that veto again? >> there's always that possibility but tom mcarthur and i put into the bill that piece of legislation which keeps the kc-10s, which is the refueling unit, and i think president obama will sign it. >> every sunday -- we'll be watching football today, the eagles. no doubt during that game there will be a nod to our military, the men and women who served in the armed forces. it's funded by taxpayers, or at least it had been until the senate ended that legislation. how did you vote on that? >> no question about it, i voted to make sure that no money went to the nfl to pay them to be patriots. if it's up to me, i think they should pay the money back. >> it surprised a lot of people when those articles started coming out. >> no question about it. when we see the flag being pulled out across the stadium, we all field so good about our country. i think most people are outraged. we have to pay them to be americans?
no. i think they should give it back. >> let's talk about 2016, your challenger for the primary, a 24-year-old, newcomer, alex law. he came out early for bernie sanders. who do you support? >> no question about it that we're very early in the process. i've had discussions -- in fact, senator bernie sanders and i sponsored a bill together as i have a long relationship with secretary clinton. i think each of them would make great presidents and i think we're very early on, but i -- quite frankly, i see hillary clinton being the forefronter in this race. >> let's talk more about afghanistan. >> they've come down from a high of over 100,000 troops. now they're down to less than 10,000. the world has changed over there since the troops started to leave. and in fact, we had to take a blackhawk helicopter from the airport to the embassy because the road was unsafe.
we can't withdrawal that quickly from a country that is under that sort of duress from the taliban, what they call the aq-isis and isil. they're just waiting for us to leave. we heard that from the general and more importantly, we heard that from the troops. don't let our effort die because of withdrawal. we need to make sure we stay there because i'd rather fight the terrorists on their soil than on ours. and they are in the forefront, right next to pakistan and iran. they're right in the midst of it. what happens is those terrorists run up into the hills during the winter and come down and fight. so, literally the day after we left, there was the beheadings of nine afghan citizens, including a young girl, by the taliban and aq. that's unacceptable. >> no question. >> and their citizens are fighting hard and their military is fighting hard, but they need
our support. >> that's a valuable perspective you earned over in afghanistan. congressman norcross, thank you for joining us. really appreciate your time. next on nbc10 "@ issue," we'll tell you about a service dog that senses when a young child is about to get a headache. that's just one small part of this story. you don't want to miss it when we come right back.
the laundry list of what service dogs can do is growing and, quite frankly, it's remarkable. besides helping people with physical disabilities service dogs are now used to help with emotional issues like panic attacks, seizures, smell blood sugar level changes in people with diabetes and even sense when a headache is about to strike. here's just one example. this is rosy and her owner brian. rosy is getting his cell phone, which is ringing in a closet.
check her out. what you're watching is the product of a lot of work thanks to nonprofit main line deputy dog. full disclosure, i'm on the board. this is bodie, who does amazing things for 1-year-old jackson gilmore to my right and joining us is his father, richard. thanks for being here. bodie is here as well. jackson is at a high risk for crushing headaches. dad, how does bodie help him out. >> bodie does a lot of things with jackson. he can help him with mobility, when he's dizzy from possible migraines. he deals with migraines along with a condition called potts, which is a blood pressure/heart rate issue so he can really lose his balance, become dizzy, disoriented. he pulls him in his wheelchair. for him he can sense when jackson isn't feeling good up to a couple hours before he would even get that headache or when it would come on. >> that's amazing. >> it is amazing. i'm not sure how he does it, but
he does it. >> this is a good example of what's happening. we have really bright lights in the studio. of course, that could very easily trigger a headache. something sensory, a little too much. and that's why, perhaps, why bodie is getting a little agitated. you saw him jackson comforting. jackson, how bad do the headaches get? >> sometimes they can get really, really bad. >> really? >> uh-huh. >> how so? is it kind of overwhelming pain? is it disorientation, dizzying? >> sometimes i get dizzy and that's what bodie helps me. he helps me walk when i'm dizzy. >> the bond between you and bodie has to be so tight. >> uh-huh. >> man's best friend, right? >> uh-huh. >> rich, how accurate is bodie detecting this. this is what's remarkable. >> he's pretty spot on. he can let us know ahead. you try to figure out what's doing. we know he's there for the
migraines. jackson says, no i feel good. 30 minutes later he could be down in the dumps, turn the lights out, i need to be in a dark room, the lights are bothering me, noise is bothering me. my brother needs to be quiet. those types of things are when we know bodie was spot on and we've got to stay ahead so we can get him his medicine and get things on board to keep it from the point where we have to go to the hospital. >> brother younger or older? >> younger. >> now you have a dog to say, calm down, right? so, how long did it take bodie to learn how to do all this. >> it took a couple months. >> but that's it. it's not years. >> right. if you go to the train, stay on top of the training you're supposed to do, we were instructed how to do it from the trainer who did the work with him, the main work. when we took him on and we were able to add the migraines. he came from a system where the dog already knew how to do a diabetic alert, so he had a basis and we were able to work
who that, expand it. he can tell when jackson is tired from watching too much tv or been active outside where he needs to rest. he lets us know. >> i see there's also a handle for stabilization. >> correct. for stabilization, for wheelchair pulling, whatever he might need him for. >> how do you learn what bodie can do? was there some kind of program, was there -- was it a doctor that pointed you in the directions? >> sure. we explored it with different options thinking once he had this disability, there might be some things a dog might be able to do with him. just like anybody with a disability. we were able to explore. we found a company out of kentucky, which did a program that was a lot less time than what it would normally take for most programs. they do about 75% of the training and we did the last 25%. they come back, do the testing. that's where we were able to get him to the point he's at today to take care of this. it's an amazing bond between these two. >> and bodie giving us an example of how he alerts.
>> he senses there's a lot of things going on. sensory things that jackson could be interrupted by with all of this. the other thing, when we're in public, people want -- they see this cute dog and they need to let that dog take care of his job. his job is to take care of whoever he's caring for with his disability. that's where you run into issues but people for the most part is understanding. >> that's a great message. if you see a dog with a handle, just like bodie, you see that circular patch, service dog, usually it's a red vest they wear. it is better to just keep your distance because that dog, as they say, is doing his work. >> he's cute and cuddly but you don't want to distract them which is to take care that person. >> how would jackson's life be different without bodie? >> my wife and i talk about it, i can't even imagine the difference. the comfort he gives him. if he's in the hospital, he gets
in bed with him. gives him the confidence, i can get through things, even though i don't feel good, because this guy is here to take care of him. >> i can watch this. this is an emotional thing. >> it is. it's been a year and a half. >> bodie's been through quite a lot. >> that's correct. he had a four-month span where he had surgery in his shoulders which prohibited him from doing a lot of things he had to do for jackson. he had to shut down for four to five months to recover and go back through and be trained almost all over again to get where he was at. we could continue some of the things -- come here, buddy -- to get through. for the most part pulling him in the wheelchair and those type of things. all right, buddy. thank you. >> that's costly, too, though, the procedure. >> yes. >> it would have been costly. >> yes, yes, it was very costly. we ran into the right group. they did a great job taking care
of him and getting him back to the point where he could do that for jackson. >> bodie has said, we've had enough of this interview. stay with us. in a minute, the local veterinary joins us to explain the breakthrough procedure he used on bodie. help us understand how service dogs sense when a headache is about to hit. ans age 50 to 85: what's your reason for getting life insurance? i'm in my 60s and i work part-time with no benefits. i needed a plan that was easy to get.
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(soft music) ♪ (colonial penn jingle) welcome back. joining in on the discussion is dr. ron benemot is a surgeon with veterinary medicine in levittown. thank you for joining us, joining the dog. body bodie, jackson, richard. how bad was bodie's condition? >> you know, this is a disease we commonly see in large breed dogs, the giant breed dogs. what happens is when the
cartilage did not mature, it cracks. and it sends signals to the joint to become inflamed. imagine that, you know, jackson needs to hold bodie, needs to pull a wheelchair. this is where he stopped probably doing a good job. the way to fix it is removing the deceased cartilage. years ago, you know, surgeons have been removing those fragments by imagine the opening of the joints, dissecting through muscle layers. it's a lot of work. and the mobility is significant. the muscle needs to heal. we can't really have these dogs do much for months. the innovative way we go about these diseases is we place a small camera through a very tiny hole. we look around, we identify where the lesion is. in bodie's case, right about
here. then through another post portal instrume instrument, we basically remove it, debride it. and it takes six to eight weeks for the bone to build up cartilage again. >> doctor, you have to be looking over here and realizing this is a lifesaver for a number of different reasons. number one, jackson has his companion back. he relies on him for so much.mu. number two, the fact a service dog that gets put out -- a service dog gets put down in most cases. so it's a lifesaver to bodie, then. >> the company we actually dealt with said had they discovered this prior to giving him to us, then he would not -- he would have been disqualified and probably put down because of the extent of what he would have had to go through that they wouldn't have invested for him. >> rich and i were talking about how remarkable it is that bodie can detect jackson's headaches. how does a dog do that? >> we actually don't know how they do that. >> really? >> there are studies that looked at, do they sense electrical
brain activity. they actually don't. however, we do know that they have pretty significant sense of smell and hearing ability. and it's almost like aa dog that will alert us from significant danger. think about earthquakes, think about storms. and so, it has to do with probably the ability of bodie to smell, you know, changes, maybe body languages, those are pretty good. sensing changes in our body language. >> how accurate can a dog be in detecting? >> very. they can alert people from headache, seizures 45 minutes before they happen. >> wow. do you think a nonservice dog can be trained to pick up on headaches? >> i think you have to have their -- certain traits. you have to have the right trainer that knows what
characteristic a dog should have. they go through this rigorous training. if you don't pass it, they become a service dog. >> lifesaver, right, dad? corre. don't know where we would be without it. >> thanks for joining us. reach all all the way across. doctor, thank you. jackson, thank you very much. bodie is very good, right? best of luck to you all. >> thank you so much. >> we'll be right back.
and hi again everyone. jimmy robts in the nbc sports studio. the isu grand prix of figure skating was in france this weekend. we were planning to have coverage of the men's and lady's free skates from grand prix france today, following the attacks in paris friday night. the decision was made by francis minister to cancel the competition due to state of emergency and national mourning days in fr.