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Lilly was a licensed clinical social work supervisor at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa, Florida for thirteen years. She dedicated her career to serving our soldiers and their families in the Polytrauma Rehabilitation Unit—a facility where our most severely injured troops, including those with traumatic brain injuries, were sent as they were evacuated from the battlefields during the ongoing Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Prior to that, she worked in the Spinal Cord Injury unit at the same V.A. hospital. Lilly was passionate about her job and always took on more than she should have. As a supervisor, Lilly had many and diverse roles and responsibilities: heavy patient caseloads that required difficult community placements, staffing and scheduling nightmares to contend with given how understaffed her department was, budget oversight in an ever decreasing fiscal environment, consultation responsibilities to the Chief of Staff, and leadership roles for chairing Long-Term Care Task Forces. Because of her inherently driven personality and her passion for work, Lilly never could say no when it came to her job, and particularly to the patients and their families. As a result, she often left the hospital after working a hundred hours a day.” I “I had virtually no idea, none what-so-ever, of what Lilly’s day to day work routine was really like. We talked every single week, sometimes several consecutive days in a row, and all I ever really heard about was frustrations with her boss and how askew the Bush administration was regarding the critical failures that were plaguing the framework of V.A. care. I’d hear her complain time and time again about the disastrous leadership of Jim Nicholson, the Veterans Affairs Secreta... ... middle of paper ... ...t for the mistake, but they were trying to make it look like the Texas V.A. made the error of not having things in place upon the service members return home. ‘God’, Lilly howled into the phone, ‘if things weren’t bad enough they blamed someone else for the mistake.’ She sobbed even harder to Jenna saying, ‘it was Tampa’s mistake, not Dallas!’ The day after the Woodruff documentary aired, the V.A. staff held a debriefing to discuss people’s concerns or reactions to the Woodruff show. In her paranoid state, Lilly was terrified to attend the meeting—she thought for sure that she would be fired. She asked her boss to attend the meeting with her, to support her if need be. Her boss told us later that it was strange and unlike Lilly to behave that way. She acknowledged that Lilly was acting paranoid. Her boss tried to assure her that her job was not in any jeopardy.
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