Showing posts with label Madigan Army Medical Center. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Madigan Army Medical Center. Show all posts

Friday, August 23, 2019

Soldier's baby boy burned during operation at Madigan Army Medical Center

$12M payout may be appealed after botched surgery and burning of soldier’s child at Army hospital

Army Times
By: Kyle Rempfer
August 22, 2019

“They don’t face any penalties for filing a frivolous appeal and having months pass where this child can’t get the money for the very specialized care he needs,” Zanowski said.
The boy was undergoing surgery to remove a benign cyst when the medical team's lack of communication led to the use of an electrocautery device in conjunction with high oxygen levels, igniting a fire, court documents show. (Evergreen Personal Injury Counseling)
The federal government may appeal a $12.3 million verdict they were ordered to pay to the family of a young boy whose face was severely burned four years ago in a botched surgery at Madigan Army Medical Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.

The government filed a “protective notice of appeal” in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday, taking issue with the large payout.

The appeal means that the money expected to be awarded to the family for medical costs will be withheld for the time being, said Gemma Zanowski, an attorney at Evergreen Personal Injury Counsel who represents the family of the child.

The boy, identified in court documents as BJP, is the son of an active-duty soldier. In 2015, the boy spent 22 days in an intensive care and burn unit after the botched surgery ignited a fireball that left second- and third-degree burns across his face and neck, according to court records.

BJP must still undergo treatment for the burns, including a reconstructive procedure that would insert a balloon under the skin in order to stretch it slowly over a period of months.
read it here

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Army Nurse Died Trying To Save Wounded

Details of death of Army nurse in Afghanistan
APRIL 29, 2014

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — In her last moments of life, Army nurse Capt. Jennifer Moreno heard two orders.

One was a call to help a wounded soldier struck by a blast in a booby-trapped killing field at an Afghanistan bomb-making compound.

The other was a command to stay put lest she strike another mine in the bomb belt.

The nurse from Madigan Army Medical Center chose to help the wounded soldier, and gave her life trying.

In the words of her commander, Moreno ran "into hell" to rescue a comrade on the night she was killed. Newly released narratives of the Oct. 5 battle reveal the kind of hell Moreno and dozens of Army special operators found while trying to disrupt a plot to kill civilians in the city of Kandahar.

A total of 12 bombs exploded that night — a chain reaction that took the lives of four U.S. soldiers and wounded at least 25.

The fifth bomb killed Moreno, 25, of San Diego who volunteered for a dangerous assignment supporting special operators in combat.

The 11th bomb wounded three soldiers trying to recover her body.

Moreno is Madigan's only fatal casualty from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, even though the hospital south of Tacoma has continuously deployed soldiers to medical facilities in combat zones.

Moreno "sacrificed her life so others could live," her Bronze Star commendation reads.
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Friday, November 29, 2013

Army starts to correct records of Madigan PTSD Veterans

Army begins correcting medical records for some former Madigan patients
Review board’s decision allows misdiagnosed to begin receiving benefits
The Olympian
Staff writer
November 29, 2013

The Army has begun correcting medical records for former Madigan Army Medical Center patients who left the military with conflicting diagnoses for behavioral health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Jeanie Chang, 30, of Tenino learned last week that the Army Review Board for Correction of Medical Records will change her file to reflect the PTSD diagnosis she received at Madigan last year.

Previously, the review board rejected her PTSD diagnosis and refused to correct her records, a decision that cost her disability benefits and left her with a sense that military doctors were misusing her conversations with them.

Chang was among some 400 former Madigan patients who were called back to the hospital last year amid concerns the hospital’s forensic psychiatry team was under-diagnosing PTSD to save the Army money in long-term disability benefits. Of those, 158 patients left the review with PTSD diagnoses.

About 20 of them have had trouble persuading the review board to honor their newer diagnoses. Instead, the board favored the forensic psychiatry reports that were at the center of the hospital’s PTSD controversy.
read more here

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Army Rangers honor bravery of Capt. Jennifer Moreno at memorial

Memorial for feisty Madigan nurse Moreno salutes her bravery in Afghanistan
The Olympian
Adam Ashton
Staff Writer
Published: November 2, 2013

Col. Stephen Yoest, foreground, deputy commander for clinical services at Madigan Army Medical Center; Lt. Col. Timothy O’Haver, Madigan chief of staff; Col. Lena Gaudreau, deputy commander for nursing; and Chaplain Lt. Col. Jimmy Davis leave flowers at a newly dedicated memorial Friday at Madigan in memory of Capt. Jennifer Moreno, a medic killed while on a mission in Afghanistan.
The death of Army nurse Capt. Jennifer Moreno in Afghanistan last month devastated her teammates.

They told themselves they should have been the ones to take that dangerous mission with a team of Army Rangers instead of the feisty medic from San Diego with the broad smile.

But as the days wore on after the Oct. 6 bombings that killed four soldiers and wounded 30 more, Moreno’s friend and commander Capt. Amanda King realized it “couldn’t have happened any other way.”

Only Moreno, 25, had the bravery to race through a heavily mined village to try to save wounded Rangers.

“None of us would have done what you did, running into hell to save your wounded brothers, knowing full well you probably wouldn’t make it back,” King wrote in eulogy to her friend.
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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Madigan Army Medical Center nurse killed in Afghanistan

Madigan Army Medical Center nurse killed in Afghanistan
Seattle Times
Posted by Nick Provenza
October 8, 2013

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD (AP) — A nurse from Madigan Army Medical Center and three of her fellow soldiers in a special operations force were killed by an improvised bomb blast Sunday in Afghanistan, the Defense Department said.

Lt. Jennifer M. Moreno, 25, of San Diego, was based at the hospital at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and volunteered as a member of a cultural support team with a special operations task force that deployed in June.

Also killed in Sunday’s blast in the Zhari District of Kandahar Province were Sgt. Patrick C. Hawkins, 25 of Carlisle, Pa.; Sgt. Joseph M. Peters, 24, of Springfield, Mo.; and Pfc. Cody J. Patterson, 24, of Philomath, Ore.

Hawkins and Patterson served out of Fort Benning, Ga., with the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. Peters belonged to the 5th Military Police Battalion out of Vicenza, Italy.

Serving with a special operations cultural support team is one of the few ways for female soldiers to go outside the wire on combat missions with all-male Army Ranger or Green Beret teams, The News Tribune reported.

“We’ve lost a superb officer and a caring nurse who served with marked distinction and honor throughout her career.” said Madigan Command Col. Ramona Fiorey. “We are all deeply saddened by the tragic loss of this great American solider.”
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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Madigan Army Medical Center PTSD reviews leave soldiers still suffering

PTSD review patients struggle to amend records
The News Tribune
September 8, 2013

Aaron Ostrum and his wife thought they got a blessing early last year when the Army reconsidered the former soldier’s mental health records and changed his diagnosis to post-traumatic stress disorder.

The couple believed the adjusted diagnosis more accurately reflected the psychological toll of his experiences inspecting mass graves in Bosnia and serving on security details in Baghdad. They expected the PTSD diagnosis would get him better care and more money in monthly disability benefits to support his family.

A year and a half later, they have the PTSD diagnosis in hand, but they’re still struggling to get the Army to follow through with changes to his service records and retirement benefits.

“What else do they want? I don’t understand,” the former Washington National Guard specialist said in an interview at his Pierce County house.

Ostrum, 35, was one of more than 400 military service members and veterans called back to Madigan Army Medical Center in early 2012 amid concerns that doctors there had improperly diagnosed PTSD in such a way that soldiers received fewer benefits than they deserved. Patients met with doctors from other hospitals in what the Army called a fusion cell at Madigan.

Of that group, 158 left the process with new diagnoses for service-connected PTSD. The Army says 13 of them still have unresolved cases in terms of diagnoses or final adjustments to their retirement benefits.
read more here

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Army won't release Madigan PTSD data

Army withholding findings of Madigan PTSD probe
By Rebecca Ruiz
NBC News contributor

The results of a months-long investigation into the reversal of post-traumatic stress disorder diagnoses at Madigan Army Medical Center are being kept confidential.

Earlier this month, Army Secretary John McHugh told reporters at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state that the Madigan findings would not be disclosed.

Days later, the Army denied Freedom of Information Act requests for documents related to the controversy made by three Seattle-area news organizations.

George Wright, an Army spokesman at the Pentagon, told NBC News that “concerns brought up in the Madigan matter will be addressed” in a separate forthcoming report by the Army's Task Force on Behavioral Health.
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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Army refuses to release details of Madigan investigation

Army refuses to release details of Madigan investigation
By Adam Ashton
The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.)
Published: February 10, 2013

TACOMA, Wash. — Army leaders insist they have fixed flaws in Madigan Army Medical Center’s behavioral health department that resulted in the misdiagnoses of hundreds of patients. But they have refused to release reports that could substantiate their findings and shed light on what happened at the Army hospital last year.

The latest in a long string of denials and non-disclosures happened last week when Secretary of the Army John McHugh visited Joint Base Lewis-McChord. He called a press conference Monday to announce the completion of an Army-wide behavioral health investigation that stemmed from the Madigan reports, but he declined to share it.

McHugh said a task force review had generated 24 findings and 47 recommendations, but he would not release them and described only one. He signed a memo intended to bolster Army wellness programs and left open the door to release more information later.
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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Was Madigan PTSD doctor suspended in retaliation?

Madigan PTSD doctor suspended
Dr. Russel Hicks, a Madigan Army Medical Center psychiatrist, has been suspended from his hospital duties for alleged problems with patient care. He believes the action is retaliation for information he gave Army investigators looking in to the hospital’s troubled PTSD diagnosis program.
Seattle Times
By Hal Bernton
Seattle Times staff reporter

A Madigan Army Medical Center psychiatrist has been suspended from his hospital duties because he allegedly practiced outside the scope of his clinical privileges and did not properly document patient records.

Dr. Russel Hicks, a senior member of Madigan’s staff with 15 years of service, received a Jan. 17 memorandum that informed him his privileges were in “abeyance.”

During an initial investigation that could last a month or more, he must refrain from any diagnosis, prescriptions, charting or treatment.

Hicks, in a letter to Madigan’s credential’s committee, said he believes the actions were in retaliation for information he offered Army investigators who last year examined diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at the hospital.
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Monday, December 3, 2012

Report finds Madigan's head did not influence PTSD diagnoses

Army report backs Madigan leader
Finds Col. Dallas Homas did not use position to influence PTSD diagnoses
Staff writer
Published December 03, 2012

An Army investigation glowingly endorses the Madigan Army Medical Center commander who temporarily lost his post this year amid complaints about inconsistencies in the hospital’s post-traumatic stress disorder diagnoses.

The report found that Col. Dallas Homas “did not exert any undue influence over PTSD diagnoses, and that he acted appropriately enforcing standard medical guidelines,” according to a summary The News Tribune obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

The Army relieved Homas from his command from February until August as part of its investigation into the forensic psychiatry program at the Army hospital south of Tacoma.

Madigan’s forensic team had the last say on behavioral health diagnoses in disability evaluations, and patients couldn’t understand why the team’s psychologists sometimes changed other doctors’ PTSD diagnoses to other conditions.

Concerns about the program reached Homas’ level in part because one doctor in a staff meeting suggested psychologists be mindful of long-term costs to the government in making their diagnoses. PowerPoint slides from the briefing estimated the cost of a diagnosis at $1.5 million over time.

The Army has since given fresh PTSD diagnoses to 150 patients who had passed through the Madigan team over the past four years; all those patients previously were given a clean bill of health or a different diagnosis. Others who want their cases reviewed still can get new opinions.
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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Mother of evicted, wounded soldier, has his property

Mother of evicted soldier has his property
Army Times
By Joe Gould
Staff writer Posted : Friday Oct 12, 2012

The landlord who evicted a hospitalized soldier, and was accused of selling and trashing the soldier’s belongings, has returned nearly all of the property to the soldier’s mother, he says.

Tommy Atha said he has fulfilled his promise to return the belongings of Sgt. Mark Porrazzo of Fort Hood, Texas. Atha came under fire after Porrazzo’s platoon leader posted an open letter about the situation on the pro-soldier Guardian of Valor website.

“We could have sold everything in there, but I have never done that with any of my tenants, and I will not do that with any of my tenants,” Atha, a retired Marine, said in an interview with Army Times on Thursday. “I maintained his privacy and I maintained his goods.”

Mark Porrazzo, 32, of 31st Chemical Company, 2nd Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Battalion, was on a training exercise with his unit at Yakima Training Center, Wash., when he was hospitalized in May, his platoon leader told Army Times in August.

Porrazzo, a 15-year Army veteran who has been deployed to Iraq four times, was initially hospitalized at Madigan Army Medical Center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., for reasons his family has asked to keep private. Porrazzo was then transferred to Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood.
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Friday, August 10, 2012

Records Show How Army Doctors Downgrade PTSD

A Tale of Two Diagnoses: Records Show How Army Doctors Downgrade PTSD
By Keegan Hamilton
Seattle Weekly
Aug. 10 2012

How does one doctor diagnose an Iraq war veteran with PTSD while another says the same soldier has a less severe condition called adjustment disorder? Medical records shared by one of the characters in our feature story this week offer some insight into the workings the controversial forensic psychiatry team at Madigan Army Medical Center.

Here's the relevant background excerpted from our feature story, which chronicles the case of John Byron Etterlee, a chemical weapons specialist stationed at Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM):

On July 15, 2011, a Veterans Affairs (VA) psychiatrist interviewed Etterlee and diagnosed him with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). But five months later the diagnosis was abruptly changed to "adjustment disorder"--a lesser condition--by a forensic psychiatrist at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma.

The switch was made even though the clinician merely reviewed paperwork and never spoke with Etterlee or met him face-to-face. Only later did Etterlee learn that he was one of several hundred Fort Lewis soldiers who'd had their PTSD diagnoses downgraded by Madigan doctors.
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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Army Surgeon General defends PTSD diagnostic method

Army Surgeon General defends PTSD diagnostic method
April 3, 2012
By J.D. Leipold
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, March 30, 2012) -- The Army's surgeon general last week told Senators that all military services use a standard method to diagnose post-traumatic stress disorder.

Lt. Gen. Patricia D. Horoho testified March 28 at a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee, Defense subcommittee hearing on military health and said military hospitals use the same method as the civilian sector to diagnose post-traumatic stress disorder, known as PTSD.

"It's the one standard that's out in the civilian sector as well as the military. It's the best standard out there for diagnosing PTSD," she said.

Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state said she was aware there were Soldiers at Madigan Army Medical Center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., who were diagnosed with PTSD but then a forensics psychiatry team changed the diagnosis. She asked if Soldiers elsewhere had been misdiagnosed.

Horoho said the Army had just completed its own investigation at Madigan, which is under review by Army attorneys. She said the Deputy Surgeon General's Office under Maj. Gen. Richard A. Stone had initiated the investigation to look into the forensics used in the evaluation of PTSD.

"Then there's another investigation that was launched by the Western Region Medical Command to look into command climate and Madigan Army Medical Center," she said. "I initiated an IG assessment, not an investigation, but an assessment that looked at every single one of our military treatment facilities and the provision of care to see whether we had this practice of using forensic psychiatry or psychology in the medical evaluation process."

Horoho said that since becoming surgeon general, she has focused on care for PTSD, brain injuries and behavioral health.

"Since I took over as surgeon general on the 5th of December, what I've done so far is we're pulling behavioral health up to the headquarters level so that we have one standard of care across all of Army Medicine, and we're able then to shift that capability where the demand is," she said.

read more here

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Investigation clears Madigan's forensic psychiatrists of PTSD wrongdoing

Investigation clears Madigan's forensic psychiatrists of PTSD wrongdoing
by MEG COYLE / KING 5 News
Posted on March 28, 2012 at 6:28 PM
Updated yesterday at 6:41 PM

LAKEWOOD, Wash. -- They've been suspended from their jobs, their medical ethics questioned. They've even been subjected to death threats. All because Madigan's forensic psychiatrists reversed several PTSD diagnoses.
Those same doctors have reportedly been cleared in the first of three separate investigations.

Questions surrounded 17 cases in particular, and whether doctors deliberately lowered the number of PTSD cases to save the government money. Wednesday, the Army Surgeon General came under fire once again for the scandal.

On Capitol Hill today, Lieutenant General Patricia Hororo told a congressional subcommittee the army is reevaluating how it diagnoses soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder.

"We're looking at everywhere we have variance and we're looking at how we can decrease that variance and be able to ensure we have one standard across army medicine," she said.

Doctors at Madigan first came under fire earlier this year when it was revealed 17 soldiers initially diagnosed with PTSD were told they didn't have the condition afterall-- changes made when Madigan's forensic psychiatric team reviewed their cases.

Army Specialist Jared Enger says doctors were already treating his PTSD when he was told his diagnosis had been reversed by Madigan's forensic psychiatristic team. "Talking to a doctor on the phone trying to dispute the fact I didn't have PTSD while I was in an inpatient program for PTSD," recalls Enger.

But in at least one investigation--those same doctors appear to have been cleared.
read more here

Sen. Murray questions Army Surgeon General about PTSD diagnoses at Madigan
The Joint Base Lewis-McChord medical center is under investigation

Web reporter
Q13 FOX News Online
7:08 p.m. PDT, March 28, 2012

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., on Wednesday questioned the policies surrounding post-traumatic stress disorder diagnoses at Madigan Medical Center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Murray, chairwoman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee and a senior member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, questioned Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho, the Army Surgeon General.
read more here

Friday, March 23, 2012

15 soldiers learn results of PTSD re-evaluations

15 soldiers learn results of PTSD re-evaluations
The Army announced Wednesday that it has notified 15 soldiers of their behavioral health diagnoses amid an investigation into whether Madigan Army Medical Center’s forensic psychiatry unit wrongly changed post-traumatic stress disorder diagnoses.

Published: 03/22/12

The Army announced Wednesday that it has notified 15 soldiers of their behavioral health diagnoses amid an investigation into whether Madigan Army Medical Center’s forensic psychiatry unit wrongly changed post-traumatic stress disorder diagnoses.

In January, the Army opened an investigation into the Madigan evaluation team following complaints that it adjusted diagnoses in such a way that soldiers did not receive full disability benefits for PTSD. The Army is conducting at least three investigations into Madigan’s PTSD diagnoses.

Of the 1,500 soldiers who have been diagnosed at Madigan since 2007, 285 were invited to be re-evaluated.
read more here

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Families on front line of soldiers' distress of PTSD

Families on front line of soldiers' distress
The Seattle Times
Published: March 20, 2012

It started with the nightmares — middle-of-the-night eruptions when her fiancĂ© would jolt her awake with his screams, his body drenched in sweat.

Renee Paxton watched as the outgoing, quick-witted man she loved and would later marry slowly came undone.

A load master in the Air Force Reserve with 240 combat missions into Afghanistan and Iraq, Rick Paxton stopped eating, stopped seeing friends. Loud noises spooked him; the American flag flying on a building stopped him dead in his tracks. He hardly left the house.

The 49-year-old became combative at the very suggestion that Renee Paxton get them help, worried that revealing his troubles would jeopardize his chances to advance after 25 years of service.

"He said, 'We don't talk about this,' " she recalled. "Military people push that stuff to a different part of their brain."

But the fear that is keeping soldiers from seeking help for their mental wounds is also tying the hands of those closest to them — the silence like a fence around the family.

"Often they are living in fear, silently, like women in domestic violence," said Jennifer Ferguson, a licensed marriage and family therapist who worked for a year in a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) program at Madigan Army Medical Center south of Tacoma.
red more here

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Joint Base Lewis-McChord on edge following Afghan shooting spree

Lawmakers press Pentagon on massacre suspect's brain injury

By Sharon Begley and Susan Cornwell
Tue Mar 13, 2012

(Reuters) - A congressman asked the Pentagon on Tuesday to explain why the soldier accused in the massacre of 16 Afghan villagers was sent back into combat after earlier suffering a traumatic brain injury in Iraq, as lawmakers questioned how seriously the military deals with the mental health of troops.

The Army staff sergeant accused in Sunday's shooting served three deployments to Iraq before he was sent to Afghanistan last year. The soldier, whose name has not been disclosed publicly, was treated for a traumatic brain injury suffered in a vehicle rollover in 2010 in Iraq, according to a U.S. official.

Representative Bill Pascrell, founder of a U.S. congressional task force on brain injuries, wrote to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta requesting details of the accused soldier's injury, diagnosis, and when and how he was returned to combat duty.

"I am trying to find out basically whether there was a premature 'OK' on this guy," Pascrell, a Democrat, said in a telephone interview.
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Joint Base Lewis-McChord on edge following Afghan shooting spree
The Seattle Times
Published: March 13, 2012

SEATTLE — The mood at Joint Base Lewis-McChord was uneasy Monday, as news vans gathered at the main gate and journalists outnumbered customers in some shops in the wake of a shooting spree by a base Army staff sergeant that left 16 Afghan civilians dead.

Many uniformed personnel shrugged off questions about the shootings in Afghanistan. Those who discussed it said they fear the consequences for their fellow troops in-country.

“I’m worried another war might break out,” said Specialist Eric Windley, of Connecticut. “They are going to retaliate.”

A single soldier’s pointless actions are likely to undo years of effort to build trust between the United States and Afghanistan, he said.

While nothing can justify the murder of civilians, many soldiers who have been through multiple deployments will have seen some of their friends killed in action, said Specialist Joe Neumeyer, of Oklahoma, who spent a year in Iraq. The military’s rules of engagement also can be frustrating to soldiers, who are often not allowed to shoot until someone shoots at them, he said. “But no matter what, what he did was really, really wrong.”

Windley said his unit’s leaders always encourage troubled soldiers to speak up. “It’s very easy to get help.”

But Jorge Gonzalez, a former member of the Third Stryker Brigade and an Iraq veteran, said it can be almost impossible to ask for help while on deployment. Gonzalez, 32, was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after he returned home. He now runs Coffee Strong, a nonprofit Internet cafe near the base whose motto is “Pro-GI; Anti-War.” Paintings on the walls depict soldiers brandishing guitars instead of rifles and lobbing steaming mugs of joe in place of grenades.
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Saturday, March 10, 2012

After combat, many Oregon vets continue to battle with unseen wounds

After combat, many Oregon vets continue to battle with unseen wounds
Published: Saturday, March 10, 2012
By Mike Francis, The Oregonian

BEND -- Oregon National Guard veteran Trevor Hutchison is a slow-walking casebook of post-deployment medical issues: bulging discs, pinched nerve, reconstructed ankle, traumatic brain injury and severe post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms including bursts of anger, memory loss, erratic sleep and anxiety attacks.

Yet none of this is obvious from looking at him or talking to him.

Randy L. Rasmussen / The Oregonian
Hutchison spends several days a week in his Bend-area home caring for Colleen, the 20-month-old daughter of he and his wife Sely.

At 36, he is enduring a protracted and bungled medical retirement from the military. The Department of Veterans Affairs has given him a 90 percent disability rating and declared him unemployable. He is as much as 70 pounds heavier and 2 inches shorter than he was when he went to Iraq in 2004 as a member of Oregon's 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry.

Oregon is full of young veterans like Hutchison, suffering aftereffects that are largely unseen.

They are scattered in cities, towns and farms around the state, where their difficulties are often invisible to those outside their immediate families. The Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs said that 21,731 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns lived in the state in 2010.

Even with his demonstrable medical problems, his retirement from the military has been marked by delay and mistakes. After he complained to a staffer with Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., the Army admitted misplacing his file. Today, Hutchison's medical retirement seems to be moving again, but he cites a history of mixed messages and unresponsiveness from the Army's Madigan Army Medical Center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Madigan is in the news this month as the Army investigates whether it improperly resisted diagnosing troops with PTSD even when they suffered from it.

Last month the Army reinstated PTSD diagnoses for six soldiers. Hutchison says he has been through a similar wringer with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Portland. He says providers there accused him of faking his symptoms in order to get narcotics. He says two of the three surgeries VA doctors performed caused his problems to worsen, which is why he says he won't allow them to perform surgery on his spine.

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Horoho’s testimony shows scope of Army PTSD investigations at Madigan

Horoho’s testimony shows scope of Army PTSD investigations at Madigan
Post by Adam Ashton / The News Tribune on March 9, 2012

Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho this week told lawmakers in a House Appropriations subcommittee that the Army is investigating the ombudsman program that drew attention to a Madigan Army Medical Center forensic psychiatry unit that sometimes adjusted behavioral health diagnoses in such a way that soldiers did not receive full disability benefits for post-traumatic stress.

These are the other known investigations into the Madigan team:

* An Army Medical Command inquiry into the Madigan forensic unit that is checking cases that were screened by Madigan forensic psychiatrists since 2007. Horoho said the Army identified about 1,600 cases that passed through Madigan forensics. Close to 300 oldiers are being invited to have new screenings that could result in different behavioral health diagnoses. So far, six soldiers whose PTSD diagnoses were changed by Madigan forensics have had their original diagnoses reinstated.

* An Army Medical Command investigation into the command climate at Madigan. That investigation explains why Madigan commander Col. Dallas Homas is on administrative leave. Horoho this week told lawmakers his suspension was a normal action for an investigation.
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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Madigan PTSD team had superb reputation

Madigan PTSD team had superb reputation
Review: Internal memos show record

ADAM ASHTON; Staff writer
Mar. 04, 2012
Since the inquiries began, the Army has invited every soldier whose behavioral health diagnosis was changed at Madigan to get another review of their cases at Walter Reed. 
Madigan last year identified 17 soldiers who disagreed with their final diagnoses, according to multiple sources who spoke on condition of anonymity. They were invited in January to have their cases reviewed. 
Six had their PTSD diagnoses reinstated. Three opted not to take the Walter Reed review and eight had the Madigan results upheld.

Tacoma-area Army psychiatrists who made the final determination on soldiers’ post-traumatic stress disorder diagnoses at Madigan Army Medical Center had a stellar national reputation until they fell under scrutiny this year.

They once identified false claims made by a soldier who lied about killing an innocent Iraqi girl in a ploy to gain a PTSD diagnosis, according to internal memos obtained by The News Tribune. It turned out the soldier had never deployed.

They also were known to diagnose PTSD in soldiers who had been given clean bills of health from other clinicians – the opposite of what the forensic psychiatry team members are accused of doing now.

“Quite frankly, they have an extensive track record for effectively diagnosing PTSD in hundreds if not thousands of active-duty military and Reserve personnel over the past several years without issue, and their success is unparalleled,” former Madigan commander retired Col. Jerome Penner told The News Tribune last week. He led the hospital until March 2011.

Now the once-golden unit based on the grounds of Joint Base Lewis-McChord is under fire as the Army carries out at least three separate investigations. The Army and elected leaders want to know whether the team adjusted behavioral health diagnoses for the right reasons, or whether it shortchanged service members who should get full PTSD benefits.

Forensic psychiatrists at Walter Reed Military Medical Center in Maryland have overturned six Madigan diagnoses from last year, and the Army has invited more soldiers to come forward and seek new opinions.

Washington Democrats Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Norm Dicks want to know if the Madigan doctors limited PTSD diagnoses in a misguided effort to save money.

Their fears are rooted in fall presentations by Madigan’s Dr. William Keppler in which he urged colleagues to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars. Keppler told them a single PTSD diagnosis could cost as much as $1.5 million over time.
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