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Soldiers Face Neglect at Walter Reed

Health care Walter Reed Hospital 2007 Neglect Veterans

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#1 Cait

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 10:51 AM

This kind of neglect just makes me sick with grief.  Regardless of anyone's politics, the troops who have given their lives and their futures should be given the BEST of care for their entire lives.  This is just criminal.

Washington Post

Quote

Soldiers Face Neglect, Frustration At Army's Top Medical Facility

By Dana Priest and Anne Hull
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, February 18, 2007; Page A01

Behind the door of Army Spec. Jeremy Duncan's room, part of the wall is torn and hangs in the air, weighted down with black mold. When the wounded combat engineer stands in his shower and looks up, he can see the bathtub on the floor above through a rotted hole. The entire building, constructed between the world wars, often smells like greasy carry-out. Signs of neglect are everywhere: mouse droppings, belly-up cockroaches, stained carpets, cheap mattresses.

This is the world of Building 18, not the kind of place where Duncan expected to recover when he was evacuated to Walter Reed Army Medical Center from Iraq last February with a broken neck and a shredded left ear, nearly dead from blood loss. But the old lodge, just outside the gates of the hospital and five miles up the road from the White House, has housed hundreds of maimed soldiers recuperating from injuries suffered in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.

Source:
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#2 Spectacles

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 11:29 AM

Quote

Life beyond the hospital bed is a frustrating mountain of paperwork. The typical soldier is required to file 22 documents with eight different commands -- most of them off-post -- to enter and exit the medical processing world, according to government investigators. Sixteen different information systems are used to process the forms, but few of them can communicate with one another. The Army's three personnel databases cannot read each other's files and can't interact with the separate pay system or the medical recordkeeping databases.

The disappearance of necessary forms and records is the most common reason soldiers languish at Walter Reed longer than they should, according to soldiers, family members and staffers. Sometimes the Army has no record that a soldier even served in Iraq. A combat medic who did three tours had to bring in letters and photos of herself in Iraq to show she that had been there, after a clerk couldn't find a record of her service.

Shannon, who wears an eye patch and a visible skull implant, said he had to prove he had served in Iraq when he tried to get a free uniform to replace the bloody one left behind on a medic's stretcher. When he finally tracked down the supply clerk, he discovered the problem: His name was mistakenly left off the "GWOT list" -- the list of "Global War on Terrorism" patients with priority funding from the Defense Department.

He brought his Purple Heart to the clerk to prove he was in Iraq.

Lost paperwork for new uniforms has forced some soldiers to attend their own Purple Heart ceremonies and the official birthday party for the Army in gym clothes, only to be chewed out by superiors.

Unbelievable. Why hasn't anyone done anything to streamline communications and improve efficiency? That alone would go a long way toward solving some of these problems. Certainly, the needs of the wounded would be tended to more promptly.

As for the rest of the article, I agree with Cait. It makes me sick.
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#3 Balderdash

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 11:39 AM

So much for supporting the troops... :p

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#4 Zwolf

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 11:54 AM

Quote

This kind of neglect just makes me sick with grief. Regardless of anyone's politics, the troops who have given their lives and their futures should be given the BEST of care for their entire lives. This is just criminal.

Damn straight.  Hopefully now that this story is out, something will be done about it, even if only by shaming the authorities into it.  It's a shame that they have to be shamed into it, though.  These guys give everything and they get this back.  :(

It's already a travesty that we have so many Vietnam vets living on the street... I'd hoped we'd learned something from that and weren't going to subject another generation of vets to neglect...

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#5 Lover of Purple

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 11:57 AM

Anytime a Vet is treated wrong or not treated right I get furous. Time to write my senators.

I would gladly pay a new tax that went for JUST the Vets.

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#6 Tricia

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 12:59 PM

View PostZwolf, on Feb 20 2007, 10:54 AM, said:

Quote

This kind of neglect just makes me sick with grief. Regardless of anyone's politics, the troops who have given their lives and their futures should be given the BEST of care for their entire lives. This is just criminal.

Damn straight.  Hopefully now that this story is out, something will be done about it, even if only by shaming the authorities into it.  It's a shame that they have to be shamed into it, though.  These guys give everything and they get this back.  :(

It's already a travesty that we have so many Vietnam vets living on the street... I'd hoped we'd learned something from that and weren't going to subject another generation of vets to neglect...

Cheers,

Zwolf

It is a pity that sometimes people, organizations, even the government have to be shamed into doing what they should have been doing all along

BTW...it's not just Vietnam vets living homeless.  One of our local stations did a report on Iraq War vets who came back and are now homeless and living under bridges too.  

Not sure why this is such a surprise tho...  

hasn't Nonny told us enough about the VA for us to realize that the paperwork/redtape mountain and overall lack of proper or timely care for vets of all wars is sure to exist on a grand scale? Or that teh hospitals are not in the best of condition?  

For every new facility like that just recently opened in San Antonio there are dozens that are in a sad state of disrepair.

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#7 Rhea

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 03:20 PM

View PostZwolf, on Feb 20 2007, 08:54 AM, said:

Quote

This kind of neglect just makes me sick with grief. Regardless of anyone's politics, the troops who have given their lives and their futures should be given the BEST of care for their entire lives. This is just criminal.

Damn straight. Hopefully now that this story is out, something will be done about it, even if only by shaming the authorities into it. It's a shame that they have to be shamed into it, though. These guys give everything and they get this back. :(

It's already a travesty that we have so many Vietnam vets living on the street... I'd hoped we'd learned something from that and weren't going to subject another generation of vets to neglect...

Cheers,

Zwolf


You couldn't prove by me that we've learned so much as a jot or tittle from Viet Nam. This is beyond ludicrous and into the realm of the unbelievable. I don't understand why, with so many Goddamned wars, they still can't get it right. It isn't as if they haven't had practice. :wacko:

These kids have to struggle with so many physical problems - it's criminal that they can't recuperate in sanitary and safe surroundings without a mountain of paperwork involved. It's just SNAFU in the original sense of the term.

Edited by Rhea, 20 February 2007 - 03:22 PM.

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#8 Cait

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 03:45 PM

And.. you mean to tell me that with all the billions of dollars we spend on this war, not only didn't we arm them well enough in the beginning, but we ask them to recover in that kind of squalor?  Where the hell does the money go?  If it doesn't go to the flesh and blood men and women, then were does it go?

There are reports of billions squandered in contracts and reconstruction, but we can't manage to do what's right by the men and women who secure our freedom with their lives?


I remember my uncle had problems with the VA after Viet Nam.  The VA battled with him all his life on his % of disability, but this... this is just beyond the pale.  And I am so tired of hearing "We didn't know.  We weren't prepared for the number of causalities" etc, etc...  If the government isn't prepared, what the hell good are they to us?  That's what we pay them for with taxes--to be prepared.

It's obscene.  Just obscene, to do that to the men and women who have given so much.  I'm so ashamed of our government.  ALL of them.  Who lets this happen in good conscience?

Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.

Source:
http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html


#9 Cait

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 04:59 PM

http://www.armytimes...edboards070217/

Here is another article on this..

Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.

Source:
http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html


#10 Kosh

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 05:02 PM

Don Imus was on the case this morning, and he will ride them over and over again till somehting is done. He called out McCain, and Biden and all the polititions who have visited Walter Reed during this war, to get on the job.

When he starts bitching, thing get done.
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#11 Cait

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 05:39 PM

Thanks for sharing that.  I hope he does ride them until something gets done.  I hope the airwaves are filled with voices pointing a finger until they are all shamed into doing something.

Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.

Source:
http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html


#12 Mel

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 05:57 PM

If you look at the Washington Post site then you'll see that even since Sunday's article, some things have started getting done.  (Amazing what embarrassment and public outcry will do.)  The paper has published 3 follow up articles already plus an online chat with the journalists involved in researching/writing the articles.

Online Chat:  Recovering at Walter Reed

Army Fixing Patients' Housing

Hospital Investigates Former Aid Chief

The Hotel Aftermath  (This isn't so much a followup as a companion story about more outpatients--this time focusing on those who are assigned to the Mologne House, one of the nicer outpatient facilities.)

They've done a room by room inspection of Building 18 and started repairs (including removal of the mold, etc), fixed the elevator, removed the snow and ice making it difficult for the soldiers to get around and so on.  Which is all good.  The problem of course is that the articles reveal a deeper problem in the underlying structure of Army's handling of our wounded soldiers.  The infrastructure and bureaucracy won't be fixed that quickly.

Edited by Mel, 20 February 2007 - 05:58 PM.


#13 Nonny

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 08:32 PM

View PostSpectacles, on Feb 20 2007, 08:29 AM, said:

Quote

Life beyond the hospital bed is a frustrating mountain of paperwork. The typical soldier is required to file 22 documents with eight different commands -- most of them off-post -- to enter and exit the medical processing world, according to government investigators. Sixteen different information systems are used to process the forms, but few of them can communicate with one another. The Army's three personnel databases cannot read each other's files and can't interact with the separate pay system or the medical recordkeeping databases.

The disappearance of necessary forms and records is the most common reason soldiers languish at Walter Reed longer than they should, according to soldiers, family members and staffers. Sometimes the Army has no record that a soldier even served in Iraq. A combat medic who did three tours had to bring in letters and photos of herself in Iraq to show she that had been there, after a clerk couldn't find a record of her service.

Shannon, who wears an eye patch and a visible skull implant, said he had to prove he had served in Iraq when he tried to get a free uniform to replace the bloody one left behind on a medic's stretcher. When he finally tracked down the supply clerk, he discovered the problem: His name was mistakenly left off the "GWOT list" -- the list of "Global War on Terrorism" patients with priority funding from the Defense Department.

He brought his Purple Heart to the clerk to prove he was in Iraq.

Lost paperwork for new uniforms has forced some soldiers to attend their own Purple Heart ceremonies and the official birthday party for the Army in gym clothes, only to be chewed out by superiors.

Unbelievable. Why hasn't anyone done anything to streamline communications and improve efficiency? That alone would go a long way toward solving some of these problems. Certainly, the needs of the wounded would be tended to more promptly.

As for the rest of the article, I agree with Cait. It makes me sick.
Welcome to my world.  The world where it is not unusual to be chewed out by a "superior" for something the "superior" failed to fix.  The world where I can camp at the beach and see a fellow veteran and say hi and incur the wrath of the hostile young man who turns out to be her son because he's suspicious of how I know his mom and it's all because I'm camping but they're living at the beach.  The world where young people have the same thousand yard stare that the veterans of my generation had, but even though we know what to do for them now, it's not getting done.  The world where you're screwed if you fail to complete and turn in paperwork nobody bothered to tell you you needed to complete and turn in, and wouldn't have given you the forms for if they had.  The world where the rules keep shifting to keep you from getting the health care you need, and your brain is already overwhelmed from the post-traumatic stress that's shifting from acute to chronic as you fail to get that health care in a timely manner, if at all.  

This has been reported before, at least in veterans' publications.  It's been going on as long as troops have been coming home sick and injured, and Disabled American Veterans, the VFW and the rest of the service organizations are not getting through to the administration, because the administration simply does not care.  

A hopeful note.  When this began, I posted that I had volunteered to be a peer counselor.  We were then told, quite rudely, that we would not be needed.  Newly disabled veterans, the ones who made it through all the hoops,  were segregated into their own groups and told not to listen to older veterans, we were all losers and troublemakers.  Well, the commander of Camp Pendleton has invited older veterans with PTSD to talk to the young troops with post-traumatic stress issues.  Good start, should have been from the start, for those still on active duty, and those not retained.  

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#14 Hibblette

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 09:15 PM

The truly ludicrous thing about this is that they are bawling on one hand about the Congress cutting funds to this war.  And yet...they aren't bawling for these guys.

I have friends that actually sent bulletproof vests to their kids in Iraq.

So if Congress cuts the funding will the guys really notice it?
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#15 Caithness

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 09:46 PM

Veterens who served our government should be cared for by our government and shouldn't have to live in a pile of rat droppings.  My uncle has ocd like me and Vietnam severely exhaserbated (sp?) his condition, then spit him back out to fend for himself.  I can deal with ocd on my own, but I've never had kill anyone and I've never been shot at or lived in constant fear and squalor.
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#16 Lin731

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 11:15 PM

Quote

They've done a room by room inspection of Building 18 and started repairs (including removal of the mold, etc), fixed the elevator, removed the snow and ice making it difficult for the soldiers to get around and so on. Which is all good. The problem of course is that the articles reveal a deeper problem in the underlying structure of Army's handling of our wounded soldiers. The infrastructure and bureaucracy won't be fixed that quickly.

Yep, they can't spackle over that and slap a coat of paint on. That is the biggest problem right out of the gate. It's ridiculous that our government can invest billions in weapons technology but can't manage to intergrate their various computer systems? What a load that is. Seems to me that the government LIKES it that way. The more of a hassle these poor soldiers have to go through, the more will give up and not cost the government any money. I wish taxpayers could earmark where their money went, I'd want a portion of mine going to these wounded vets.
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#17 Nonny

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 09:04 AM

View PostHibblette, on Feb 20 2007, 06:15 PM, said:

I have friends that actually sent bulletproof vests to their kids in Iraq.
Unauthorized gear is routinely confiscated.  :angry:  

Nonny
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"Give a man a gun and he can rob a bank, give a man a bank and he can rob the world." Can anyone tell me who I am quoting?  I found this with no attribution.

Fatal miscarriages are forever.

Stupid is stupid, this I believe. And ignorance is the worst kind of stupid, since ignorance is a choice.  Suzanne Brockmann

All things must be examined, debated, investigated without exception and without regard for anyone's feelings. Diderot

#18 Kosh

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 09:12 AM

The Imus rant continued this morning. I switched over to music about seven, and went back about 8, and Imus was still going. Kerry, McCain, and Biden could feel their collective ears burning.
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#19 Tricia

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 12:30 PM

View PostNonny, on Feb 21 2007, 08:04 AM, said:

View PostHibblette, on Feb 20 2007, 06:15 PM, said:

I have friends that actually sent bulletproof vests to their kids in Iraq.
Unauthorized gear is routinely confiscated.  :angry:  

Nonny


Not sure about that as I vaguely remember Cheney saying something that was encouraging parents, communities etc to buy and send special stuff like bulletproof vests, some kind of extra helmet liner etc.

It's been a long time since I heard that so I can't swear to it...but if it was encouraged and then confiscated... :glare:  :angry:

In true dialogue, both sides are willing to change. --Thich Nhat Hanh


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#20 Caithness

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 12:58 PM

View Posttrikay, on Feb 21 2007, 12:30 PM, said:

View PostNonny, on Feb 21 2007, 08:04 AM, said:

View PostHibblette, on Feb 20 2007, 06:15 PM, said:

I have friends that actually sent bulletproof vests to their kids in Iraq.
Unauthorized gear is routinely confiscated.  :angry:  

Nonny


Not sure about that as I vaguely remember Cheney saying something that was encouraging parents, communities etc to buy and send special stuff like bulletproof vests, some kind of extra helmet liner etc.

It's been a long time since I heard that so I can't swear to it...but if it was encouraged and then confiscated... :glare:  :angry:

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