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Family Fears Transfer Doesn't Fix Underlying Issue - KOAM TV 7

Family Fears Transfer Doesn't Fix Underlying Issue

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

It took emails to army commanders, calls to elected officials, but Tracey Martin says, now, it looks like her son will receive proper health care. 

"I think it's incredibly crazy that it took this kind of fight to get Stephen healthcare," Tracey said. 

Her son, Stephen Martin, is a specialist in the U.S. Army. The Carl Junction native has CIDP, a neurological disorder affecting his motor functions. She blames the treatment he received in Germany, then later the Warriors Transition Battalion at Fort Riley for his condition spreading to the point he ended up in a wheelchair. 

"I am very concerned what's happening for soldiers that don't have somebody that's willing to be their voice. Or maybe doesn't even know how to be their voice, or that they can be their voice," Tracey said. 

Tracey contacted Congressman Billy Long, Senator Roy Blunt, and Claire McCaskill before anything was done to permanently transfer her son to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, in Maryland.

"The family and the army agreed that the doctor had said clearly that he was not going to get the help he needed at Fort Riley," Senator McCaskill said. "That he had not gotten the help he needed, either in Germany or at Fort Riley. And that where he needed to be was Walter Reed."

Senator McCaskill portrayed the issue as an outlier, not indicative of the way military health care typically works. But since KOAM & Fox 14 first reported on the story, two former soldiers have emailed detailing similar experiences at Fort Riley. One saying, "the medical side and the army command side were constantly at odds."

"The system is broke," Stephen's step-father William Runkle said. "Something needs to change to help all the soldiers that are in need."

"What I've done is not the solution," Tracey said. "I hope it's a catalyst for a solution for other soldiers in situations similar to Stephen's."

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