VA psychologist to staff: don't diagnose PTSD

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Principessa, May 19, 2008.

  1. Principessa

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    VA psychologist to staff: don't diagnose PTSD

    A furor has erupted over a psychologist’s email directing staff at a Texas veterans facility to withhold diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder from soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq.

    In the email, Norma J. Perez, PTSD program coordinator at the Olin E. Teague Veterans’ Center in Temple, Texas, tells staff “given that we are having more and more compensation seeking veterans, I’d like to suggest that you refrain from giving a diagnosis of PTSD straight out.”

    Instead, she advises “consider a diagnosis of Adjustment Disorder.”
    Veteran Affairs staff “really don’t ... have the time to do the extensive testing that should be done to determine PTSD,” Perez wrote.

    VA Secretary James Peak immediately called Perez’s email “inappropriate” and insisted that it didn’t reflect VA policy, the Washington Post reported Friday. In a statement, Peak said the staffer’s action was “repudiated at the highest level of our health care organization.”

    Oddly, Peake indicated that Perez – a psychologist – was staying in her job, after becoming “extremely apologetic” when counseled.

    That infuriated people writing comments at the Washington Post’s Web site, who called Perez a “no good dirt bag” and recommended that she be given “100 lashes” and “fired for dereliction of duty.”

    What’s at stake is veterans’ ability to get disability and health care benefits from the VA. A diagnosis of “adjustment disorder” doesn’t deliver the same level of benefits as would a diagnosis of PTSD, Paul Sullivan, the executive director of Veterans for Common Sense, told CBS news.

    “VA staff across the country are working their hearts out to get our veterans the care they need and deserve,” U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) told CBS. “But emails like these make their jobs far more difficult.”

    The chairs of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees promised Friday to investigate the matter, and Sen. Barack Obama (D.-Ill.) called Perez’s email “outrageous” in a statement calling for a probe.

    Rep. Bob Filner (D-Calif.), who heads the House committee, said he wanted to know whether the Texas psychologist was acting on orders. “Where is she getting it from,” Filner said he wanted Peake to explain, according to the Associated Press. “Why is she saying this? Who is giving her the order?”

    VA spokewoman Alison Aikele told the AP Friday that Perez was just making a suggestion. “We’re not aware of any other instances where this happened,” Aikele said.

    Just last month, the Rand Corp. released a report estimating that about 300,000 soldiers who served in Iraq or Afghanistan have PTSD or major depression. And last week, a separate furor arose over yet another series of emails that appeared to indicate that VA officials didn’t want to disclose the number of veterans who commit suicide – as many as 18 a day, according to some estimates.

    Have you or a family member had trouble getting a diagnosis of PTSD from the Defense Department or the VA? What do you think of the way soldiers are evaluated for these conditions?


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    This really pisses me off! :angryfire2: I know I have posted about the often horrific treatment Vets are getting when they come home from Iraq and Afghanistan; but the bad news never ends. :mad: It sickens me to think that these brave men and women are not getting the treatments they so desperately need, just so that an insurance company can save money. :12:

    Norma Perez, should receive a dishonorable discharge. What do these morons think is going to happen to soldiers who have severe combat related PTSD when they are released to go home without a proper treatment plan? Many are unable to work, yet unable to collect disability due to this intentionally, incorrect diagnosis. Sounds like a recipe for major depression, alcoholism, drug abuse and/or suicide. Grrr, :mad:.
     
  2. PussyWellington

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    The simple way to prevent the trauma associated with war, is to avoid it. If you really want to help the members of your military; stop invading other countries. Get the military out of your schools.

    Your military is 'voluntary', none were drafted so it is a choice to join. People these days are soft. It is quite naive to think that you wouldn't be traumatized by the reality of war, but it used to be called guilt/anger... Now, it's been re-worked, labeled, and can be 'managed' with a prescription.


    Onward Christian soldiers...

    War is hell.
     
  3. DC_DEEP

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    Well, since Ms Perez is not in the military, she can't be given a dishonorable discharge. I think, though, that she should be required to do a 4-year front line tour of duty in a combat zone, to see how it feels.

    As for the comments that "the VA just can't keep up with the number of cases," well, one simple way to fix that problem is to stop sending them over there to get damaged.

    Yeah, there are some cases where troops should be deployed, but I honestly don't think the Iraq and Afghanistan situations warrant such massive troop deployments.
     
  4. ZOS23xy

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    As with the 60's Vietnam Vets: they go untreated, they boil inside and get a gun and shoot several people who have angered them, then take their own lives.

    This was what happened then. It will happen again.
     
  5. Principessa

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  6. PussyWellington

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    Not really. Don't join the military. Decreases the chance of being involved in a war, I would have thought.

    But Congress never declared war, in fact they were elected to end the war. Of course everyone seems to have forgotten that in the "United States of Amnesia"



    :wtf2: What are you talking about? The military are not in our schools. If they were, we probably wouldn't have so many incidents such as VA. Tech and and Columbine. :rolleyes: :duh:

    Military recruiters. They prey on poor communities, no? Around schools and universities. Kind of like a poverty draft.

    Your culture also glorifies war and guns. Problems are handled through violence. The mainstream media reinforce these messages.

    And your point would be, what exactly? That they deserve the injuries they sustain both visible and invisible? BITE ME! If you don't have a horse in this race you don't get a say. :mad:
    NO, but they are trained to kill. They survived boot camp. That must have given them some indication what the future holds for them.

    If you think you are better equipped to handle this war, then you go over there. :smile:

    Why on earth would I volunteer to go to another country to kill people?
    Actually, I have spent a great part of my working life in countries that have been devastated by the US Military. I see the legacy of war every day.

    Actually it used to be called shell shocked. Soldiers that came back 'shwll shocked were at least given a modicum of respect for having fought valiantly for their country.
    I have great respect for my grandfather who spent three years in New Caledonia defending my homeland from the Japanese. There is nothing valiant about the escapades in the Middle East.

    I do support the soldiers, I say SEND THEM HOME!


    So you are against war and prescription drugs? Interesting. I bet you think people can pray or meditate away depression. :rofl: You and Tom Cruise keep thinking that and have a nice life.

    I say eat the rich and send their children to war.

    Guns don't change ideology. Drugs are only a band aid.

    Actually, I have a very nice life thanks. I'm a very happy pot smoker, in splendid health, with an insatiable appetite. :)
     
  7. DC_DEEP

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    PW beat me to it, and is correct. World War II was the last time our Congress declared war. I have a lot of interrelated theories about the current situation in the middle east, and the US involvement in it, and why the Congress refused the president's request for a formal declaration. But that's a topic for another thread, and I'm sure I would catch a LOT of heat for it.

    But back on topic, I think it's criminal for our current administration to simultaneously favor increased deployments AND decreased veterans' benefits. In fact, I feel it should be considered high treason for anyone in the White House, the House of Representatives, or the Senate, to advocate sending troops anywhere without increasing veterans' benefits.
     
  8. BiItalianBro

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    I have a life long childhood friend who is a psychiatrist for the Army @ Walter Reed and counting down the minutes till his obligation is up for this very reason. He can't go into gory details for "national security reasons" but from what little he has told me in confidence; this type of political semantics is the tip of the iceberg.
     
  9. WifeOfBath

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    My brother, who is deemed by the VA to be 100% disabled from the Iraq War, was almost re-deployed until he had a higher-up step in and let him off. The biggest problem for him and other soldiers is that he's suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI), and the VA is even more ill-equipped to deal with that than they are PTSD. PTSD has been seen before, but TBI in such high numbers is new-- it's only because of modern day armor technology that someone can be involved in 10 IED explosions and live.

    These young men and women join the peacetime military trusting that our government won't get them into unjust, unwinnable wars. In return, the government is supposed to give them increased perks and benefits for serving. This isn't happening. It's criminal. I think what Pussy Wellington is missing is that the young men and women who join the military want to serve their country, either in peacetime or during war. It's noble to want to do so. However, they have no choice when their government sends them to do things even they find repugnant. To force these boys to die for a cause that seems senseless and unnecessary-- that's criminal, and that lies solely in the hands of the government.
     
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