Military mother urges medical screening after leaving service
Sat, 07 Feb 2009 00:14:00 GMT —
A grieving Brownsville mother is asking military families to get thorough medical exams for soldiers when they return home from Iraq or Afghanistan.
Emma Abundiz was saddened to hear about the recent death of Willacy County solider Javier Gonzalez.
She said Gonzalez TMs death brought back painful memories of the death of her own son Jorge Armando Garcia.
Jorge served as a Marine but died from heart problems just five weeks after returning home from Iraq last year.
He was a beautiful person...the jewel of the family, Abundiz remembered through tears.
Action 4 News cameras were there when Jorge and more than 30 other Valley Marines returned home last April.
Emma said it was a joyful reunion her son stayed busy with paramedic classes and looking for jobs with local law enforcment agencies.
But about five weeks after being back home, he was rushed to the hospital.
Doctors told the family Jorge died from arteriosclerosis.
But Emma thinks her son's death could have been prevented.
She believes her son developed that condition during his military and that he was not given a proper medical exam upon leaving the service.
"He was very strong..very active...he always exercised and watched his diet, she said in Spanish. We never thought it would have been due to a heart problem.
Emma said she's heard of the same heart problem killing other Valley soldiers shortly after their return home.
She believes the military doesn't properly screen soldiers before and after service.
She told Action 4 News that she came forward to prevent another woman's son or husband from dying.
"My son was always respectful, attentive, intelligent and caring, she said in Spanish. Any friend or neighbor you asked would have told you he was a responsible person."
Emma says she comes from a large family of 11 eleven children but they all still feel jorge's loss.
The grieving mother said should would have taken her son jorge to the doctor if she had something was wrong.
She wants the military to do better medical screening before and after they send soldiers overseas.
Until then, she's urging valley soldiers to get checked out head to toe after coming back home.
"This is not going to bring my son back but I would like everyone else to pay attention and for the government to government to give them a head to toe examination before and after sending them to Iraq, Emma said.