Women Veterans Health – One Woman’s Story of Extraordinary VA Care

Crystal served in the United States Army for eight years as a laboratory chemist. She was stationed at Fort Lee, VA and had multiple deployments around the world serving in Korea, Egypt, Germany, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Crystal finally settled in Saginaw, MI after finishing her service commitment. She experienced physical and mental strains like many Veterans face while in the military. Also, like other Veterans, the stigma of VA health care made her resistant to becoming a patient. She heard the negative stories and wondered how she would be treated, especially being a female Veteran. It wasn’t until she started working at the VA that she found out the great level of care VA provides. Crystal has been receiving her care at the Aleda E. Lutz VA Medical Center since 2007. When she began receiving primary care services, she saw how the VA places Veterans at the center of their health care and well-being, which she never experienced in the private sector.

During her recent pregnancy, Crystal’s VA healthcare team worked in collaboration with her Community Care Provider (CCP) to ensure she would be well-cared for during her high-risk pregnancy. She was followed closely by the VA Women’s Healthcare Coordinator throughout the pregnancy and after delivery for coordination of care and services. She participated in yoga and aromatherapy, services offered through the VA Comfort Clinics, to aid in relaxation in addition to more traditional treatments for her health and wellbeing.

Twelve days after difficult labor and delivery, to a beautiful little girl, Crystal was still dealing with severe issues stemmed from Preeclampsia, a medical complication characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to the liver and kidneys. She was advised to see her CCP OBGYN right away. Unfortunately, they were unable to resolve her issues and was advised to go the emergency room or see her provider at the VA. Without hesitation, Crystal chose the VA!

Once checked in with the VA Urgent Care Team, she knew she was in good hands. The warm and compassionate care received by the entire VA team assured Crystal she was going to be okay. “This team of remarkable providers,” stated Crystal, “put me and my family’s mind at ease, knowing we were receiving excellent care. I wasn’t left out on a ledge. We were cared for.” She credits this team with saving her life and thanks all the caring VA medical heroes.

Today, Crystal and the baby are both happy and healthy and she is back to work. She urges any women Veterans, who may be on the fence about VA health care, to get enrolled and choose VA.

To find out if eligible for VA benefits, call our Eligibility department at 989-497-2500, extension 13120 or 13121. Visit our new website at https://www.va.gov/saginaw-health-care/ to register for health care, view all our health services and more.