Showing posts with label Walter Reed Hospital. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Walter Reed Hospital. Show all posts

Thursday, April 16, 2020

1918, when the so-called Spanish flu ravaged the planet and lessons not learned

'We Haven't Learned From History': 'Radio Influenza' Is A Warning From 1918

By Neda Ulaby
April 16, 2020
The last great pandemic struck the world more than 100 years ago. But voices from that time can still be heard in Radio Influenza, a haunting work of audio art available online.
A nurse works in the influenza ward of the Walter Reed hospital in Washington, D.C., in November 1918. Artist Jordan Baseman evokes the era in Radio Influenza, a work of audio art commissioned to mark the centenary of the pandemic. Harris & Ewing / Library of Congress via AP

The voices are not real. They're computerized. They sound tinny and faraway as they read fragments of newspaper stories from 1918, when the so-called Spanish flu ravaged the planet. Still, these fleeting dispatches from the past are uncannily relevant.

"A man with a cold can easily throw it twelve feet by a sneeze," cautions an entry from Oct. 2, 1918. "Therefore, he must be kept at a distance. Sneezing and coughing unscreened by a handkerchief should be regarded as an assault. The sick animal who creeps away by himself until he has recovered shows an example that man would do well to follow."

Radio Influenza was created by Jordan Baseman, an American artist who works in London. He didn't want the project to sentimentalize or romanticize the past. "I wanted it to sound like a broadcast from a dystopian future," he explains. "So what we hear are artificial voices that I've manipulated to sound ... kind of real?"

Baseman started Radio Influenza two years ago to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the flu pandemic that killed more than 50 million people worldwide. There's an audio entry for each day of that year. Not all entries are taken verbatim from newspapers.

Some are cobbled together, with a certain amount of what Baseman calls "intervention." (This is art, after all, not journalism.)
read it here

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

380 patients at Walter Reed who are on the national kidney transplant list

‘I don’t want to die’: 380 Walter Reed patients are looking for kidney donors

Military Times
By: Natalie Gross
February 26, 2019
Touched by stories like Dadzie’s, Desgoutte-Brown is trying to spread the word about her beloved patients, in hopes that others in the military community would consider coming forward as potential donors.
BETHESDA, Md. — “I don’t want to die.”
Navy wife Phyllis Obeng Dadzie, 25, went into kidney failure after giving birth to her son, Prince Charles, last August. (Charles Agyeilarbi)
Phyllis Obeng Dadzie said the words quietly, but with a slight chuckle, as though it was obvious. She was sitting with her husband, Navy Chief Petty Officer Charles Agyeilarbi, in a small room at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, shivering under a pink winter coat that covered her small frame.

Seven months ago, Dadzie, a native of Ghana, was a healthy 25-year-old, pregnant with the couple’s second child. But in August, complications during the third trimester and the birth of their son, Prince Charles, sent Dadzie into stage 5 kidney disease and, ultimately, to Walter Reed, where she now gets dialysis three times a week.

She’s fully aware of what could happen if she doesn’t get a new kidney soon, but she’s not ready to give up — not with a 2-year-old and a baby at home who need their mom.

“I just want to get a new kidney and live (for) my kids again,” she said. “That’s all that I pray for every day.”

Dadzie is one of about 380 patients at Walter Reed who are on the national kidney transplant list — from troops and military dependents in their young twenties to military retirees who’ve dedicated their lives to service.
read more here

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Amputee-Disabled veteran changed tire...for Gen. Colin Powell

Veteran who lost leg in Afghanistan helps his "idol" Colin Powell change tire on side of road

CBS News
JANUARY 24, 2019

A military veteran on his way to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Wednesday saw someone having car trouble on the side of the road. Being the good Samaritan that he is, the veteran stopped to help — only to realize the man was his idol, Colin Powell.

"I'm not really starstruck that much. It was just a situation like, here's somebody on the side of the road who needs help, why not get out?" Anthony Maggert told CBS News. Since they were only about 5 miles away from Walter Reed, he knew the man likely didn't just look like Colin Powell — he was Colin Powell.

"The closer I got to the vehicle, I saw the face and I said, 'That has to be Colin Powell,'" Maggert said. When Powell got out of the car, Maggert realized he was face-to-face with the renowned general.
read more here

Monday, December 3, 2018

Sully will go to Walter Reed after President Bush's Funeral

"Sully went to work with Bush this summer after former first lady Barbara Bush passed away earlier this year."
Washington (CNN) Sully, a yellow Labrador service dog who worked with late former President George H.W. Bush, is accompanying his master one last time by traveling to Washington with Bush's casket.
In a photo tweeted by Jim McGrath, Bush's spokesman, Sully can be seen sitting directly in front of Bush's casket at a Texas funeral home Monday morning, his head bowed in unison with the Bush family members that surround him.
A highly trained service dog, Sully will now go back into service to help other veterans and is going to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, former President George W. Bush wrote in an Instagram post.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Triple amputee part of dynamic duo

Power couple: Wife of airman who survived most catastrophic wounds in history vying for cover of Maxim magazine
Military Times
By: J.D. Simkins
September 24, 2018

Brian and Ashley often make trips to Walter Reed to visit other wounded veterans to provide hope and inspiration. In 2014, Brian was presented the George C. Lang Award for Courage for his many efforts to take care of and mentor wounded vets.

Ashley Kolfage met her husband-to-be, Brian, when she was working as a hostess at a Chili’s in the small west Texas city of San Angelo.
Ashley and Brian Kolfage practice surfing. The couple married in 2011. (Photo courtesy of Ashley Kolfage)

The two quickly became friends, but before any romance could take hold, Brian deployed to Iraq, where, on Sept. 11, 2004, he became the most severely wounded airman to survive any war in U.S. history after a 107mm enemy rocket landed just three feet away as he walked to get a drink of water.

Both of Brian’s legs were instantly shredded, he lost his dominant right hand and his lung collapsed.

Miraculously conscious after the explosion, the senior airman screamed for help. A close friend tried to keep him calm as medics rushed to help. All the while, Kolfage repeated that he just wanted to make it home to see his family.

Medics would go on to perform hours of life-saving surgery before placing Kolfage on a flight to Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, where he arrived only 36 hours after being wounded, the fastest medevac to the U.S. from a war zone in history.
read more here

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Miss America from tiara to tarmac?

Miss America Joins the Air Force
Under The Radar
June 19, 2018

Scanlan is now an Airman First Class in the Air National Guard. She's also a law student at UC Berkley.
Teresa Scanlan, Miss America 2011, speaks to the crew of the Military Sealift Command dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Charles Drew from the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Cape St. George during a replenishment at sea. (Christopher Johnson/U.S. Navy)

During her term as Miss America, Scanlan participated in USO tours, visited Walter Reed and Bethesda military hospitals and toured several military installations.
read more here

Saturday, May 6, 2017

POTUS Religious Rule Took Right Away from Wounded!

In 2010 I spent Memorial Day weekend in Washington and had a tour of Walter Reed. As a Chaplain, I received VIP treatment. Between the DAV Auxiliary and the IFOC, Nam Knights and Point Man International Ministries, plus the work online, they knew what I was all about and I knew about their rules on religious items. I respected that and turned over all the religious gifts I brought so that the Walter Reed Chaplain would be able to give them out. They let me give out the pegboard games I brought.

The Administrator knew which of the wounded would be willing to accept a visit from me. I was prepared to pray with them if I was asked. None of them asked for anything more than polite conversation. I prayed for their healing in my head as I hugged those who would accept one.

I had no right to cross the line and push what I wanted to give them when they didn't want it. I had no right to invade their privacy as a stranger if they did not welcome me. I had no right to say anything more to them than "hello" as they walked in the hall while I passed by them. I had no right to try to stop them and speak to them but willingly stopped when they wanted to talk to me.

They paid the price for the freedom we all have to decide on our own what we believe, or what we choose to not believe. They paid the price with their broken bodies and blood. The countless hours of facing death for month after month was a price that came with their jobs for the sake of the rest of us. They paid by being away from their families and friends and those they loved while we were able to enjoy the company of ours and ignore what they were willing to give up for us. 

Had I not understood all that before I walked in the door of Walter Reed, I would have had no business being there, because it would have been all about me and what I wanted to do instead of them and what they were willing to do for me!

This "policy" just took away their rights and gave it over to strangers!
AP FACT CHECK: Trump Misses Whole Story On Hospital Policy
Posted: May 05, 2017

THE FACTS: The policy, in 2011, was a bungled rule that was never enforced, Walter Reed officials said at the time. So it’s unlikely that patients who wanted a Bible or religious item from a visiting family member or friend were denied.

The policy was meant to stop benevolent organizations from bothering patients by proselytizing to them, after complaints surfaced that visitors from some groups were persistent and occasionally even threatening. But it was written too broadly, stating no religious items could be given away or used during a visit.
WASHINGTON - Pitching religious free expression, President Donald Trump accused the former Obama administration Thursday of banning patients at a military hospital from receiving religious items from visitors. That episode is not quite as the president described it.
Here’s what he said and what happened more than five years ago at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland:

TRUMP, citing lawsuits against the Obama administration alleging violations of religious freedom: “The abuses were all over. As just one example, people were forbidden from giving or receiving religious items at a military hospital where our brave service members were being treated, and when they wanted those religious items. These were great, great people. These are great soldiers. They wanted those items. They were precluded from getting them.”
read more here

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Army Couldn't Defeat Moms Battle to Get Proper Care of Sons

Fort Riley bureaucracy frustrated moms who sought care for soldier sons
Topeka Capital Journal
Jonathan Shorman
October 1, 2016
The Martin and Ewing families’ ordeals played out in the weeks before the suspension and firing of Maj. Gen. Wayne Grigsby, the commander of Fort Riley. Grigsby remains under investigation, though the Army has been tight-lipped about the reason.

Stephen Martin, an Army specialist, had an autoimmune disease that was eating away at his nerve endings, gradually eroding his ability to feel in his limbs. And it was getting worse.

“As I get on the plane, I get an email from the doctor saying my son will never fully recover, because of these gaps in treatment, he’s in the condition he’s in, that he’s going to be receiving treatments the rest of his life,” Tracey Martin recalled.

She was in the midst of a battle with military bureaucracy to secure long-term treatment for her son and extricate him from the tentacles of Fort Riley, which she said kept him from getting the care he needed as he lost feeling in more of his body.

Beginning in early August, Tracey Martin, an attorney in Joplin, Mo., used military connections, members of Congress and stern dispatches to Pentagon officials to pressure Fort Riley for her son’s transfer. It worked; Stephen Martin now is receiving regular treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and shows signs of improvement.
“How do you explain that soldiers willing to risk life and limb fighting the enemy are instead losing life and limb to the brokenness of an army administration that seems like it can’t be bothered to fight for them?”
read more here

To discover more about how our wounded were treated, start with the reporting done by Dallas Morning News two years ago Injured Heroes Broken Promises

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Report on Wounded Soldier Lacking Information

There are so many pull at your heart stories on our veterans that just don't seem to add up.

On this one, there are a few paragraphs with a "feel good" read to them however it doesn't really say much at all.
Hundreds gather to support Whitman veteran injured in Iraq WFXT News Jan 29, 2016
"Hundreds of people packed the Whitman VFW to help raise money for Paul Skarinka's family to pay for the cost of Paul's recovery at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington."
Pay for cost of recovery at Walter Reed? Really? Walter Reed does not charge for wounded soldiers to get care. Skarinka was wounded in 2004, 12 years ago. Is he a veteran or still in the military? Is the reporter talking about the cost for his wife and child? Then why couldn't they go to Fisher House or any of the other charities funding places to stay nearby? Plus if "hundreds" gathered to raise funds for this wounded soldier, do you think they deserved more than a few paragraphs?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

This is Your Brain After TBI

If you want to see one of the wounds called "invisible" otherwise known as Traumatic Brain Injury, here it is.
Over half of troops who suffered blast concussions have brain scarring - study
RT News
Published: 16 Dec, 2015
"We were really surprised to see so much damage to the brain in the MTBI patients," Riedy said in a statement. "It's expected that people with MTBI should have normal MRI results, yet more than 50 percent had these abnormalities."
An MRI scan of a 28-year-old man with blast-related mild TBI shows a total of 76 lesions on all sections of his brain ©
Brain scarring appeared on more than half of active duty service members who suffered blast-related concussions, according to a new paper by the US military. It is the largest study using advanced brain imaging of active service members ever performed.

More than 300,000 US troops have been diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injuries (MTBI) between 2000 and 2015, according to the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center. Researchers at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland used MRI scans to study 834 such military service members with MTBI ‒ commonly referred to as concussions ‒ that were related to blast injuries.

Just over 84 percent of the patients involved in the study reported one or more blast-related incidents, and 63 percent reported loss of consciousness at the time of injury.

The MRI scans revealed the presence of white matter T2 hyperintensities, or brain scars, in 52 percent of the MTBI patients, the study’s authors, led by Dr. Gerard Riedy, found.
read more here

Friday, November 27, 2015

A place where wounded soldiers languished

In 2007 what was going on in Building 18 of Walter Reed Hospital was made public because reporters cared enough to do more than just listen to the wounded soldiers there. It was a part of a systemic attitude of bitter cruelty being passed off as caring for those who risked their lives.

What happened at Walter Reed was a national disgrace, but the way some Americans reacted was despicable.  They jumped to defend President Bush against the truth.  Much like today when reporters cover scandals at the VA, they are only interested in what is easy to complain about and not what has been going on for decades almost as if the past just didn't matter at all.

All of this is how we ended up right were we are today. For all the talk about being a grateful nation, in reality, we've turned into a nation of neglecters of the defenders.

So now Building 18 is gone but the damage done remains.
Saying Goodbye To Building 18 — Symbol Of Neglect For Military's Medical System
By: Nahanni Rous
November 20, 2015
“It was very clear to me on many levels that we were not prepared for the number of wounded coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan, and that’s why service members ended up in Building 18 to begin with,” Staff Sgt. John Daniel Shannon

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced this month the city will pay the U.S. Army $22.5 million for 66 acres of the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center, which closed in 2011 after the Base Realignment and Closure Act.

But the city already owns one piece of the campus: formerly known as Building 18. This nondescript off-white brick building on Georgia Avenue is being demolished to make way for a new fire station for Engine Company 22.

Crews in fluorescent vests throw metal door frames and sheets of wallboard out of third floor windows. Trucks haul away debris. The structure looks like an abandoned, second rate motel. Walter Reed’s Building 18 once housed soldiers wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A place where wounded soldiers languished

Staff Sgt. John Daniel Shannon was treated at Walter Reed from 2004-2007. He says soldiers should never have been living there.
Nahanni RousD.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and other officials break ground for a new fire station on the site of Walter Reed's Building 18.
“I think it should have been demolished a long time ago. It should have been demolished before they put service members in it," he says.

Dan Shannon is a decorated veteran of the Iraq war and served as a sniper with the Second Infantry Division. At the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Walter Reed Army Medical Center was bursting at the seams.

“It was very clear to me on many levels that we were not prepared for the number of wounded coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan, and that’s why service members ended up in Building 18 to begin with,” he says.

There were amputees, soldiers with traumatic brain injuries and post traumatic stress disorder. At the peak of the Iraq War, there were 900 soldiers on the campus, plus family members who came to help take care of them. Building 18 was part of the facility, but it was outside the gates. And it was decrepit. There was black mold on the walls, and mice and cockroaches in rooms where soldiers with open wounds were staying.

Washington Post reporters Dana Priest and Anne Hull spent four months posing as friends of patients to gain access to Walter Reed.

“Building 18 represented to me a microcosm of what was going on on the larger campus," Priest says.

Priest and Hull won a Pulitzer Prize for their 2007 series, which led with Building 18. The reporters described how a mountainous bureaucracy, lost paperwork, and insufficient social services kept soldiers languishing at Walter Reed, and Building 18 became the bricks and mortar symbol of that neglect.

"The whole thing just didn’t make any sense, that this building would exist in this place that the president had said delivered the best medical care in the world for returning soldiers," Priest says.
read more here

Monday, November 16, 2015

Walter Reed Tries Healthcare Resolutions

Military doctors, patients come together after medical errors
Military Times
By Patricia Kime, Staff writer
November 15, 2015
Military family members are allowed to file medical malpractice suits against military treatment facilities, but active-duty troops are barred from doing so under the 1950 Supreme Court decision known as the Feres Doctrine.
A doctor removes bandages from a patient. The Defense Department is expanding a program that allows health care providers and patients discuss medical errors in order to do with feelings such as guilt and sorrow.
(Photo: Air Force)
The Defense Department is expanding a program that helps ease some of the sadness, anger, confusion and frustration felt by patients and military doctors after a medical error or poor treatment experience.

Underway at eight military medical centers with plans to expand to more, the Healthcare Resolutions program provides a way for doctors, patients and family members to talk — and even apologize — after a medical mistake, unexpected death or breakdown in physician-patient communications.

Developed in 2001 at what is now Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, the program facilitates discussions between doctors and patients or their family members, aiming to shed light on what went wrong and what's being done to ensure it doesn't happen again, said program developer Barbara Moidel.

“We have learned the value of transparency. We do not want to be defined or disabled by adverse medical events; we commit to learning from them by being transparent. We acknowledge, we apologize," Moidel said.
read more here

Sunday, September 6, 2015

When Will Politicians Do Their Jobs?

The list shows members of Congress have forgotten what made this nation great.
"We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."
That was from President Kennedy about sending a rocket to the moon but those words went far beyond that one hard mission. It struck at the core of what made American what we were intended to become.
"Yet the vows of this Nation can only be fulfilled if we in this Nation are first, and, therefore, we intend to be first. In short, our leadership in science and in industry, our hopes for peace and security, our obligations to ourselves as well as others, all require us to make this effort, to solve these mysteries, to solve them for the good of all men, and to become the world's leading space-faring nation."
That investment in the future led to 50 years, 50 giant leaps: How Nasa rocked our world because these inventions and discoveries benefited the entire planet.
"Those who came before us made certain that this country rode the first waves of the industrial revolutions, the first waves of modern invention, and the first wave of nuclear power, and this generation does not intend to founder in the backwash of the coming age of space. We mean to be a part of it--we mean to lead it. For the eyes of the world now look into space, to the moon and to the planets beyond, and we have vowed that we shall not see it governed by a hostile flag of conquest, but by a banner of freedom and peace. We have vowed that we shall not see space filled with weapons of mass destruction, but with instruments of knowledge and understanding."

That was back when members of Congress thought their job was to change things for the better not destroy destiny by surrendering to hopelessness.
"Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time."

For decades we've all heard members of Congress complain about the Department of Veterans Affairs. It seems that's all they want to do. They make these grand speeches about how much they care but the lack of care, lack of fulfilling their responsibility, lack of careful thought and ineptness to plan has produced more decades of needless suffering. They cannot envision a way to take care of those willing to die for this nation? How long do they get to avoid taking responsibility for the offices they hold and the trust placed upon their shoulders as they lead the Committees with jurisdiction over the Department of Veterans Affairs? How many VA Secretaries do they get to blame while it all gets worse?

More and more of them are saying it is time to give up on the VA and send veterans into for-profit care centers and some folks agree but they are not seeing what kind of message this sends to veterans. It tells them they are not worthy of the promise made to them so long ago.
With the words, “To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan,” President Lincoln affirmed the government’s obligation to care for those injured during the war and to provide for the families of those who perished on the battlefield.
None of the problems reported are new. None of the wounds are new. The only new is that nothing has improved because members of Congress lack the vision to provide the best care possible to our veterans. They failed to plan for success and veterans have been suffering for it since the first House Committee of Veterans Affairs was seated in 1946. How many more years do they plan on letting veterans suffer instead of giving them the best care they paid for with their service to this nation?
But then again they didn't manage to do much for those still wearing the uniform.

In 2007 Washington Post reporters Dana Priest and Anne Hull covered what was going on over at Walter Reed when most Americans just figured the wounded had the best care in the world. Last year NBC and Dallas Morning News reported on more abuse of wounded in Warrior Transition Units. Congress yawned their response to change it but never once acknowledged how many years it had all gone on without them acting on behalf of the wounded to make sure they were all taken care of appropriately.

And while members of Congress once again try to explain why you should vote for them none of them have ever admitted why they never did anything to actually deserve the first one.
The WTUs were created in the wake of a 2007 scandal over substandard conditions at the old Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The units were set up at military posts across the country to help soldiers focus solely on getting the medical care they needed and either move back to active duty or obtain a discharge from military service.
However, I think we're going to do it, and I think that we must pay what needs to be paid. I don't think we ought to waste any money, but I think we ought to do the job.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Wounded Times History in the Making 8th Anniversary

I missed my own anniversary. On August 10th Wounded Times turned 8 years old and I didn't even think about it. WOW! Sure I had a lot on my mind between having a tooth pulled Monday and my computer in for repairs, (which didn't happen and I had to buy a new one) plus feeling lousy the first day of my vacation from the company I get paid to work for, (since I do this for free) it was a rotten day. It didn't dawn on my until just now when I was looking up an old article on PTSD and the Moral Injury. I went back to the oldest post and saw the date.

There is so much that some folks are totally ignorant of, especially when it deals with veterans, simply because they have not paid attention all long. It is the job of the press to make them aware of the truth but they have forgotten truth also has a history. A history reported on by other reporters chronicling the suffering of millions of veterans from every generation.

Wounded Times' mission has been to put all these articles in one place so that no one could forget what happened and when it happened.
Variant of chronicle
a historical record or register of facts or events
arranged in the order in which they happened
a narrative; history

I was frustrated searching for reports, thinking the stories were far too important to be forgotten and hidden by territorial boundaries of local news reporters. How could someone in Florida read about another veteran going through the same thing in another part of the state? How could families across the country find support of other families after their veteran committed suicide? How could other veterans discover they are not alone? How could anyone change anything as long as members of Congress refused to honor them, tell the truth and do all they can for our veterans?

On August 9th I posted the story of a homeless veteran named Kevin on my old site. It came from the Boston Globe reporter Anna Badkhen.
NORTHAMPTON -- After Kevin returned from Iraq, he spent most nights lying awake in his Army barracks in Hawaii, clutching a 9mm handgun under his pillow, bracing for an attack that never came.

His fits of sleep brought nightmares of the wounded and dying troops whom Kevin, a combat medic, had treated over 16 months of suicide attacks and roadside bombings. He kept thinking about an attack that killed 13 of his comrades. He hated himself for having survived.

Soon he was drinking so heavily that the Army discharged him. He moved back in with his parents in Narragansett, R.I., and drank even more, until they asked him to leave. Less than two years after he returned, Kevin became one of a growing number of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who are now homeless.

"I lived in my car, at the Wal-Mart parking lot," said Kevin, who asked that his last name not be published because he is considering reenlisting. He has been staying at a homeless shelter in Northampton since early July.

Kevin's tailspin encapsulates a little-researched consequence of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As more troops return from deployments, social workers and advocates expect the number of the homeless to increase, flooding the nation's veterans' shelters, which are already overwhelmed by homeless veterans from other wars.

I wrote this.
I really wonder what they think when they hear the words "support the troops" as they go to sleep in a car or in a shelter and no one supported them even enough to get help. Sad isn't it? NO! It's a disgrace! Supposedly they are in Iraq to give the people of Iraq a better life (well that was what they were told anyway) yet what kind of a life do they come home to? Supposedly they were in Afghanistan to defend this nation and take care of "homeland" security but you don't find it ironic they don't have a place to call home now because they went there?

There was something seriously wrong with this country when they came home from Vietnam, but at least a lot of good people wanted to make a difference and started the veterans homeless shelters across the country. At least they tried while the government turned deaf, dumb and blind to all of them. Now there is something seriously deplorable about this.
I kept tabs on what was happening in Massachusetts even though I moved to Florida years before this article came out.

There was an article on Medical Marijuana out of Oregon by Dr. Phil Leveque of Salem News in which he pointed out this study,
I was surprised to find the article, “Identifying and Treating VA Medical Care Patients with Undetected Sequelae of Psychological Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder” in NCP Clinical Quarterly, 6(4), Fall 1996, published by National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Department of Veterans Affairs.
I wrote this part.
If you look back to historical accounts of ancient natural medicine you will find a lot of what we now regard as criminal. Self-medicating usually does involve marijuana with combat veterans because of the calming effect it has. Most the medicine we use today, comes from natural sources ancient people used all the time for health benefits. The research into the use of marijuana has provided much evidence that controlled use provides relief for a great deal of conditions. Heck there was even a time when cocaine was used legally to relieve pain. If ancient people used these natural medicines to address their health needs, why shouldn't we?

There was even a study on the benefits of Ecstasy in treating PTSD. Last I heard, this research was still being done. There was a woman who survived an extremely violent rape and suffered catastrophic PTSD. Nothing helped her. She was part of the study and was provided great relief when Ecstasy was used under controlled administration.

I was able to read it here in Florida even though it came out of Oregon.

On the 15th of August 2007 AP reported this,
Army Suicides Highest in 26 Years
By PAULINE JELINEK Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Army soldiers committed suicide last year at the highest rate in 26 years, and more than a quarter did so while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new military report.

The report, obtained by The Associated Press ahead of its scheduled release Thursday, found there were 99 confirmed suicides among active duty soldiers during 2006, up from 88 the previous year and the highest since the 102 suicides in 1991 at the time of the Persian Gulf War.

The suicide rate for the Army has fluctuated over the past 26 years, from last year's high of 17.3 per 100,000 to a low of 9.1 per 100,000 in 2001.

Last year, "Iraq was the most common deployment location for both (suicides) and attempts," the report said.

The 99 suicides included 28 soldiers deployed to the two wars and 71 who weren't. About twice as many women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan committed suicide as did women not sent to war, the report said.

Yet when you read the news reports lately they make it seems as if all this is new. None of it is. It is reprehensible especially when you think about the number of suicides in 2007 being touted as the highest in 26 years but that 99 hit over 500 in 2012.

Then the military had to turn around and explain how there were more suicides after the war in Iraq ended and after over 900 prevention programs caped off with billions spent on saving lives.  Oops, I forgot, that was just a dream I had when reporters demanded accountability from someone. No one had to explain anything.

No one had to explain to families how their son, daughter, husband or wife was laid to rest after surviving combat but not being back home when they were supposed to be safe. No one was held accountable as family after family made the trip to Washington begging members of Congress to prevent another family from knowing the anguish they couldn't find the right words to come close to expressing.  No one in Congress was held to account for their failures. No one in the Pentagon was held accountable. No corporation was held accountable after receiving funding to produce the opposite results.  No researchers were held accountable.

No one had to pay for any of these failures other than veterans and their families and no one ever will be unless reporters decide to do the work like what came out of the Washington Post. (The link to the work is still up and worth reading every single word.
Soldiers Face Neglect, Frustration At Army's Top Medical Facility
The Washington Post
By Dana Priest and Anne Hull
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, February 18, 2007

While the hospital is a place of scrubbed-down order and daily miracles, with medical advances saving more soldiers than ever, the outpatients in the Other Walter Reed encounter a messy bureaucratic battlefield nearly as chaotic as the real battlefields they faced overseas.

On the worst days, soldiers say they feel like they are living a chapter of "Catch-22." The wounded manage other wounded. Soldiers dealing with psychological disorders of their own have been put in charge of others at risk of suicide.

Disengaged clerks, unqualified platoon sergeants and overworked case managers fumble with simple needs: feeding soldiers' families who are close to poverty, replacing a uniform ripped off by medics in the desert sand or helping a brain-damaged soldier remember his next appointment.

"We've done our duty. We fought the war. We came home wounded. Fine. But whoever the people are back here who are supposed to give us the easy transition should be doing it," said Marine Sgt. Ryan Groves, 26, an amputee who lived at Walter Reed for 16 months. "We don't know what to do. The people who are supposed to know don't have the answers. It's a nonstop process of stalling."

They ended up with a Pulitzer for this,
The 2008 Pulitzer Prize Winners Public Service Awarded to The Washington Post for the work of Dana Priest, Anne Hull and photographer Michel du Cille in exposing mistreatment of wounded veterans at Walter Reed Hospital, evoking a national outcry and producing reforms by federal officials.

You'd think things would change but they didn't. We saw that when the Dallas Morning News and NBC decided to report on Warrior Transition Units, Injured Heroes, Broken Promises last year. This was followed by Congressional Committee Orders Wide-Ranging Investigation of Army WTUs in 2015 but as we've seen, more talk, more money, more suffering and no one held accountable.

Until things really change for the better, Wounded Times will still be here collecting stories from all over the country along with several others because no one should ever feel alone like I did in 82 when I read the words Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for the first time. If you think you feel alone now, then think how I felt back then before any of us had computers to use to reach out to someone else going through the same thing. One more reason why Wounded Times is here, is that it all matters!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Walter Reed Ex-Employee Admitted Stealing Drugs

Local man involved in stealing drugs from Walter Reed Hospital
Charles County
By Press Release, U.S. Attorney for Maryland
During the period that Malone was involved in the conspiracy, the government contends that he and his co-conspirators stole over $2 million worth of Somatropin from the Walter Reed pharmacy. Gurdon admitted that the total loss to the United States over the course of the entire conspiracy was at least $4,467,000.

Greenbelt, Maryland – Lamelle Marquez Malone, age 35, of Las Vegas, Nevada, formerly of Columbia, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to conspiring to steal prescription drugs from a military hospital and to interstate transportation of stolen property.

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Robert Craig of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service - Mid‑Atlantic Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Antoinette V. Henry of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations.

Malone admitted that from April 8, 2011 through August 2012, he conspired with Roger Gurdon, and others to steal Somatropin, a form of human growth hormone, from the pharmacy located at the former Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Malone and his co-conspirators re-sold the stolen pharmaceuticals for profit.

Gurdon was a pharmacy technician at Walter Reed. Between January 2008 and the fall of 2011, Gurdon stole Somatropin from Walter Reed and sold it to a co-conspirator. When Gurdon traveled out of the country in April 2011, he arranged for the co-conspirator to obtain Somatropin from Malone, who was an enlisted member of the Army and worked as a pharmacy specialist at Walter Reed.
read more here

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Two Presidents Watch Wounded Veteran From Florida Drops and Give Diamond

2 ex-presidents witness wounded veteran’s marriage proposal 
Washington Times
By - Associated PressTuesday, August 11, 2015

KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine (AP) - A soldier who was badly wounded in Afghanistan has proposed to his girlfriend in Maine while two former presidents looked on.

George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and their first ladies watched as retired Army Spc. Tyler Jeffries proposed to Lauren Lilly at the Bush summer home in Kennebunkport. The elder Bush tweeted his congratulations, wishing them “a lifetime of joy together.”

Jeffries is from Florida. He lost his legs in an explosion in 2012. Two friends helped him drop to a prosthetic knee to propose on Monday.
read more here

Friday, July 24, 2015

"Death Letter: God, Sex and War" Chaplain's Book Turned Into Movie

Veteran's story of his 'invisible wounds' to be made into movie in Pittsburgh 
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Janice Crompton
July 24, 2015
The book is called “Death Letter: God, Sex and War.” It is named after those just-in-case letters penned by every soldier to their loved ones before they head off to the front. It focuses on God, sex and war, “the three biggest mythologies of our imagination,” the chaplain said.
Erik Shaw and his wife Kristen. The couple married via live video satellite feed in 2005 after Mr. Shaw feared he would be killed in combat in Southern Baghdad. Just days earlier, he suffered a traumatic brain injury during a roadside improvised explosive device attack.
When Army Chaplain David Peters returned from active duty in Iraq nine years ago, he discovered that even though he no longer was living in the chaos of war, the battle within was just beginning.

Not long after he returned home, he got divorced ”and started serially dating and wondered, ’What is wrong with me?’ ”

But Rev. Peters realized that he had “to keep it together” for the wounded troops he was ministering to at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

The Bucks County native joined a writing program and tried to find answers to the challenges he was facing concerning religion, sexuality and relationships. While he found plenty of books about war and post-traumatic stress disorder, they glossed over the more intimate subjects of love and sex.

“I decided to write the book I needed to read,” he said. For Rev. Peters, the struggle represented “the invisible wounds I brought back with me.”
The book was published by Pittsburgh native and Army Sgt. 1st Class Erik Shaw, also an Iraq War veteran who started a publishing company as a way to help veterans with traumatic brain injuries and PTSD.
read more here

Saturday, June 13, 2015

News Reporters Help Disabled Veteran Get Full Benefits

7 On Your Side I-Team helps wounded veteran get full VA disability benefits 
ABC 7 News
Joce Sterman
 June 12, 2015
“The most important thing is making sure people coming back in the future don't have to go through this, that it’s that much easier for them,” Hunter said.
Kenna Hunter and Sgt. Eric Hunter, right. (WJLA)

BETHESDA, Md. (WJLA) - He put his life on the line, losing a leg in Afghanistan while serving his country. But an Army soldier being treated at Walter Reed is now fighting for benefits his family believes he should get. And now they've got 7 On Your Side.

When Sergeant Eric Hunter risked his life for his country the second time, he came home with more hardware than just the Purple Heart medal. He’s got a prosthetic device on his right leg and chunks of metal holding together his left.

“He stepped on the bomb the day before our one-year wedding anniversary,” says Kenna Hunter, Sergeant Hunter’s wife.

The incident happened in 2012. It was the day one step set Hunter back a thousand more. Kenna Hunter explains, “I've been at his bedside every single day. I've watched the blood, the sweat, the tears and all the pain he's been through.”

Hunter, now 27, had 60 surgeries. He experienced the loss of his right leg and countless hours of physical therapy to hold onto his left. It’s become normal for his family to watch him fight. Just not like this.

“It is kind of like a slap in the face,” Sgt. Hunter said.
read more here

Sunday, April 26, 2015

National Award for Warrior Transition Units Scandal Reporting

NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth Wins National Journalism Award 
The Society of Professional Journalists Recognizes NBC 5 Investigates Team
By Brian Hocker
Apr 24, 2015
"Our NBC 5 Investigates team and The Dallas Morning News were relentless in pursuing a Texas story with national implications that has helped many soldiers. We couldn't be prouder of these journalists."
"Injured Heroes, Broken Promises," the six-month-long investigative partnership between NBC 5 / KXAS-TV and The Dallas Morning News, has been awarded the prestigious 2014 National Sigma Delta Chi Award for Investigative Reporting under the Large Market Television category by The Society of Professional Journalists.

"Injured Heroes, Broken Promises" uncovered complaints from hundreds of injured, active-duty soldiers claiming they were mistreated, harassed and verbally abused by commanders of the U.S. Army's Warrior Transition Units, or WTUs. These units were created to improve care for injured soldiers after the 2007 Walter Reed Army Medical Center scandal.

Just nine days after the first NBC 5 report aired and appeared in The Dallas Morning News, the Army issued orders requiring staff at all 25 of the Army's WTUs located worldwide, to undergo new training.

NBC 5's coverage about the treatment of soldiers injured in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting resulted in the NBC 5 Investigates team discovering the difficulties that soldiers faced years after they had left the WTUs. NBC 5 filed a comprehensive Freedom of Information Act request seeking Army complaint records at several Texas military installations.

"Our viewers depend on us to dig for information and sources not available to the average citizen," said Susan Tully, NBC 5 Vice President of News. read more here

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Where Do Veterans Go When Everyone Stopped Watching?

Soldiers Failed, Veterans Turned Away
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
March 29, 2015

This is a great example of Congress pushing for "something" to be done to fix what reporters got ahold of.

Demand down for soldiers needing JBLM’s Warrior Transition Battalion reported by Adam Ashton for The Olympian shows how the community stepped up to help take care of the wounded soldiers.

It starts with
On the back of a horse at a farm in Yelm, Mike Buccieri began letting go of the psychological wounds he carried after an Afghan insurgent’s bullet tore into his back and ripped him from the Army life he loved.

He found the equine-based therapy that worked for him when the Army sent him to a Warrior Transition Battalion, a medical unit he had once disparaged as a purgatory for “broken soldiers” on their way to being “kicked out” of the military.

Yet as Congress claims to be investigating the facts discovered by The Dallas News and NBC joint effort to bring the suffering of the wounded to our attention, it has been going on right under their nose and they just didn't care enough to do the right thing before they were forced to even take a look at it.
Remember the scandal at Walter Reed Hospital?

Embarrassed by allegations of mistreated wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 2007, the Army spent more than $1.2 billion building facilities for its severely injured troops at large posts around the world.
So Congress did "something" about it.

Col. Chris Toner, chief of the Army Warrior Transition Command, told the House Armed Services Committee last month that 4,196 soldiers are enrolled in the program – down from a peak of 12,451 seven years ago.

Despite the falling numbers, Army leaders insist they want to maintain the warrior transition model rather than reuse the costly facilities for a different purpose.

“We’ve come a long way since the days of medical holding companies and long wait times for injured soldiers,” Toner told lawmakers. “We will not return to that setting.”

Yet, when reporters were not watching, this is what happened over and over again across the country to wounded servicemen and women.
Recently, The Dallas Morning News and KXAS-TV documented examples of mistreated patients and verbal abuse at warrior units at Army hospitals in Texas. Their investigation prompted the Army to issue new training guidelines for the soldiers who volunteer to work in warrior transition battalion.

A 2013 Defense Department Inspector General audit of JBLM’s Warrior Transition Battalion documented similar concerns from soldiers and staff members. It spelled out the systemic flaws that have dogged warrior transition battalions since the program launched, such as:
• Inconsistent training for staff members.
• High turnover among the active-duty and Reserve soldiers who oversee patients.
• Frustration among patients who felt stuck in a program of indeterminate length. Some could be enrolled in a battalion for two years or more.
• Barriers to connecting patients with job-training programs in the civilian sector that could prepare them for opportunities after they leave the military.

The report, based on site visits in the summer of 2011, included several revealing comments from anonymous patients and staff members about the pressures they felt inside the battalion.

The Warrior Transition Battalion “steals your soul and puts you in a deeper depression,” one National Guard soldier told the auditors. “They tell me to plan for the future, but they cannot tell me when I can leave.”

So now they'll have empty buildings but it isn't as if they overplanned for the wounded. It is more that the wounded soldiers are no longer in the military.

So what happens to them now? It isn't as if their wounds have vanished. The DOD doesn't have to count them anymore. They don't have to count the number of veterans committing suicide or needing care for PTSD any more than they have to account for the physical needs.

The VA has had trouble for decades as reported by veterans going back to the 70's. Congress has not had to answer for what they failed to do on that end either.

Their latest answer is, "Hey we'll just privatize it" hand out cards so veterans could go see a doctor charging a lot more money for the same work the VA is supposed to be providing. Sure, no wait times in a private office or at hospitals. At least that is what Congress wants us to envision. Guess they never had to rely on what the rest of experience on a daily basis.

This is really simple. Congress has had since 1946 to get it right for our veterans and even longer to get it right for the wounded yet what veterans got were more problems than solutions.

Guess who is to blame? Us. We vote for folks to do a job (both sides) yet never bother to make sure they're doing it. It takes reporters to tell the stories they live with on a daily bases, so God love them for that, however, they forget that we need to be reminded about what happened before that made it this bad. It is for sure that Congress won't blame themselves but veterans do.

Any idea what members of Congress are up to knowing that more and more disabled veterans are heading home from combat? They show no indication of learning from the past about anything so just expect more of the same excuses and a longer line of veterans suffering.

They plan, as in the past, to  have communities step up and take care of them.  Sounds good until you ask about where all the billions a year spent to "care for them" went.  Also sounds good until you wonder what happened to all the money folks donated to huge charities using professional fundraisers to gain millions a year while Congress refuses to hold them accountable.

When it comes to veterans, it seems they can't really count on anyone for very long.