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"It's a struggle to be seen": Midlands Vet coping with lack of care for medical disorder

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH)-- Irmo native Alison Morett served as a Medic in the Air Force National Guard for five years. She say, "It's a struggle. It's a struggle to be heard; it's a struggle to be seen."

Morett has battled an Eating Disorder for more than 25 years of her life. She told WACH FOX that she's not getting the help she needs, "They're very aware of the situation but they tell me they don't have the services here."

Dorn VA Medical Center in Columbia has a Women's Clinic and is one of the few VAs with a gynecologist on staff. However, they do not have a specific service to treat Eating Disorders.

"I've had no help from someone who can help me," Morett said on Friday.

"Eating Disorders, while not completely unique to females. it is seen more in females than in males," explained Dr. Bernard L. Dekoning, Dorn's Chief of staff, "Every VA facility, Dorn included, takes women's health very seriously".

Morett said she doesn't doubt that, but she's frustrated with the referral process and paperwork, "literally years and years later, I've had no referral."

"Yes there is bureaucracy and we are working to streamline that," Dr. Dekoning said the process is meant to benefit the patient so the proper referrals can be made.

Morett hopes the process speeds up as she's down to 78 pounds, her lowest weight as an adult, "My body's gotten to such a weak sick point that I can't hold down a job, I can't work."

She graduated from nursing school but has never been able to practice, saying, "I have the record for them to see and it's like "do you not see this?"

Dr. Dekoning did put WACH FOX in touch with someone for Morett to get in contact with, he also encourages veterans who feel their needs aren't being met to reaching out to patient advocates at the VA.

**Click here for more information on Dorn's Women's Clinic**


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