Members of the Suffolk County Legislature and the Women Veterans Advisory Board called on the Northport VA Medical Center to retain a full-time female gynecologist on their staff. There is currently no female gynecologist available at the Northport VA to treat female veterans, an overwhelming number whom return from service having experienced some form of military sexual trauma, harassment or both. This has led veterans to feel reluctant to seek care at the Northport VA because they do not feel comfortable seeing a male doctor and do not want to chance reliving trauma that they may have experienced.
If the VA insists that it is unable to hire a full-time female gynecologist, the Legislature and Women Veterans Advisory Board urge the VA to utilize medical services offered through Stony Brook Hospital, or any other medical facility, to bring female gynecologists to the Northport VA to treat any veteran who requests treatment by a female gynecologist.
“It is irresponsible and beyond comprehension that the VA does not offer our female veterans this option,” said Suffolk County Legislator Susan A. Berland, Chairwoman of the Veterans & Consumer Affairs Committee and Ex-Officio Member of the Women Veterans Advisory Board. “We owe the brave women who sacrificed so much for our country more than just platitudes. We owe them the highest level of care and respect and that certainly includes the ability to be seen by a female gynecologist at the Northport VA.”
“Suffolk County is home to more veterans than any other county in the state, many of whom are female veterans,” said County Executive Bellone. “Our female veterans deserve to feel safe and comfortable with their doctors, and we fully support the need to hire a female gynecologist for the Northport VA Medical Center.”
“I am troubled after hearing some of the concerns from women veterans regarding their healthcare services at the Northport VA Medical Center,” said United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY). “I am urging the Northport VA to look into this matter and find a resolution that can accommodate all of their patients. Our veterans face unique burdens when they return home from overseas and we should provide them with all of the resources at our disposal. I look forward to working with Northport VA, as well as local stakeholders to resolve this matter.”
“I applaud County Legislator Berland for highlighting this obvious deficiency at the VA,” said Congressman Thomas R. Suozzi (NY-03). “We will work with her and the veteran community to encourage the VA to address this issue as soon as possible.”
“I find it unacceptable that these veterans cannot receive the treatment they deserve. With many of them suffering from PTSD caused by sexual harassment, sexual assault, or worse it is unacceptable that we force these veterans to in many cases relive the trauma. The hidden effect is that many of these veterans do not get yearly check-ups and are now at a much higher risk for conditions such as cervical cancer,” said Steve Castleton, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army, New York South.
“The Suffolk County Women Veterans Advisory Board wants to ensure that every veteran receives quality medical care in a safe and comfortable environment and wholeheartedly supports the immediate hiring of a female gynecologist at the Northport VA Medical Center. This should not be seen as a choice but a necessity to fulfill the needs of the female veteran population all across Suffolk County,” said Christine Glynn, Chairwoman of the Suffolk County Women Veterans Advisory Board.