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  • Discharged for PTSD

    Thousands of soldiers with PTSD incorrectly dismissed with personality disorders by the Army in order to evade the cost of longterm treatment.

    USA Today
    Updated 8/16/2010 8:08 AM



    WASHINGTON (AP) At the height of the Iraq war, the Army routinely fired hundreds of soldiers for having a personality disorder when they were more likely suffering from the traumatic stresses of war, discharge data suggest.Under pressure from Congress and the public, the Army later acknowledged the problem and drastically cut the number of soldiers given the designation. But advocates for veterans say an unknown number of troops still unfairly bear the stigma of a personality disorder, making them ineligible for military health care and other benefits.

    "We really have an obligation to go back and make sure troops weren't misdiagnosed," said Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, a clinical psychologist whose non-profit "Give an Hour" connects troops with volunteer mental health professionals. The Army denies that any soldier was misdiagnosed before 2008, when it drastically cut the number of discharges due to personality disorders and diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorders skyrocketed. Unlike PTSD, which the Army regards as a treatable mental disability caused by the acute stresses of war, the military designation of a personality disorder can have devastating consequences for soldiers.

    Defined as a "deeply ingrained maladaptive pattern of behavior," a personality disorder is considered a "pre-existing condition" that relieves the military of its duty to pay for the person's health care or combat-related disability pay. According to figures provided by the Army, the service discharged about a 1,000 soldiers a year from 2005 to 2007 for having a personality disorder. But after an article in The Nation magazine exposed the practice, the Defense Department changed its policy and began requiring a top-level review of each case to ensure post-traumatic stress or a brain injury wasn't the underlying cause.

    After that, the annual number of personality disorder cases dropped by 75%. Only 260 soldiers were discharged on those grounds in 2009. At the same time, the number of post-traumatic stress disorder cases has soared. By 2008, more than 14,000 soldiers had been diagnosed with PTSD twice as many as two years before. The Army attributes the sudden and sharp reduction in personality disorders to its policy change. Yet Army officials deny that soldiers were discharged unfairly, saying they reviewed the paperwork of all deployed soldiers dismissed with a personality disorder between 2001 and 2006.

    "We did not find evidence that soldiers with PTSD had been inappropriately discharged with personality disorder," wrote Maria Tolleson, a spokeswoman at the U.S. Army Medical Command, which oversees the health care of soldiers, in an e-mail. Command officials declined to be interviewed. Advocates for veterans are skeptical of the Army's claim that it didn't make any mistakes. They say symptoms of PTSD anger, irritability, anxiety and depression can easily be confused for the Army's description of a personality disorder. They also point out that during its review of past cases, the Army never interviewed soldiers or their families, who can often provide evidence of a shift in behavior that occurred after someone was sent into a war zone.

    "There's no reason to believe personality discharges would go down so quickly" unless the Army had misdiagnosed hundreds of soldiers each year in the first place, said Bart Stichman, co-director of the National Veterans Legal Services Program. Stichman's organization is working through a backlog of 130 individual cases of wounded service members who feel they were wrongly denied benefits. Among those cases is Chuck Luther, who decided to rejoin the Army after the Sept. 11 attacks. He had previously served eight years before being honorably discharged. "I knew what combat was going to take," he said. Luther said throughout his time in the Army, he received eight mental health evaluations from the Army, each clearing him as "fit for duty."

    Luther was seven months into his deployment as a reconnaissance scout in Iraq's violent Sunni Triangle in 2007 when he says a mortar shell slammed him to the ground. He later complained of stabbing eye pain and crippling migraines, but was told by a military doctor that he was faking his symptoms to avoid combat duty. Luther says that he was confined for a month in a 6-by-8 foot room without treatment. At one point, Luther acknowledges, he snapped biting a guard and spitting in the face of a military chaplain. After that episode, Luther says, the Army told him he could return home and keep his benefits if he signed papers admitting he had a personality disorder. If he didn't sign, he said, he was told he would be kicked out eventually anyway. Luther, whose account was first detailed by The Nation, signed the papers.

    His case highlights the irony in many personality discharges. A person is screened mentally and physically before joining the military. But upon returning from combat, that same person is told he or she had a serious mental disorder that predated military service. As in the civilian world, where many insurance companies deny coverage for illnesses that develop before a policy is issued, the government can deny a service member veteran health care benefits and combat-related disability pay for pre-existing ailments. Despite the Defense Department's reforms, groups such as the National Veterans Legal Services Program say they don't have enough manpower to help all the veterans who believe they were wrongly denied benefits. Stichman says his organization has more than 60 law firms across the country willing to take on the legal cases of wounded veterans for free. But even with that help, the group doesn't know when it would be able to take on even one new case.


    A congressional inquiry is underway to determine whether the Army is relying on a different designation referred to as an "adjustment disorder" to dismiss soldiers. Sen. Kit Bond, a Missouri Republican, wants the Pentagon to explain why the number of these discharges doubled between 2006 and 2009 and how many of those qualified to retain their benefits. As for Luther, he got lucky. After about a year, he says the Veterans Administration agreed to re-evaluate him and decided that he suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome coupled by traumatic brain injury. The ruling gives him access to a psychologist and psychiatrist every two weeks, despite his discharge status, he said. But Luther acknowledges that he still struggles. In June, he received word that the Army had turned down his appeal to correct his record, which means he could never return to the service or retire with full benefits. A week later, he says, he lost his job delivering potato chips because a superior felt threatened by him. Luther says he misses the Army. "When I was in uniform, that defined me," he said. "It's what made me, me."

  • #2
    Re: Discharged for PTSD

    Army knew accused Iraq vet was homicidal

    UPI.com
    Published: Dec. 12, 2003 at 5:48 PM


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    After the charge to Baghdad, [Pvt. Jacob Burgoyne] filled out several Army forms beginning in early June that offer glimpses of a severely troubled soldier. He filled in circles noting that he was "feeling down, depressed, or hopeless" and had "thoughts that you would be better off dead or hurting yourself in some way." He marked "yes" to a question that asked whether he feared he "might hurt or lose control with someone?"

    Another form shows that Burgoyne expressed "suicidal thoughts or actions" and "serious concern (agitation, withdrawal, grief) regarding combat/events while in theatre." The Army recommended that he be enrolled in a substance abuse program and "referred to mental health for evaluation and treatment."

    The troops were processed through Kuwait on their way back to Fort Benning. On July 5 in Kuwait, Burgoyne made the apparent suicide attempt by overdosing on anti-anxiety and antidepressant medicine he had been prescribed. The Army hospitalized him there on a suicide watch and prescribed the anti-psychotic drug Zyprexa. They ordered that he be accompanied at all times and not allowed near guns. They had him sign a form agreeing that he would "remain free from self-destructing behaviors and self injurious behaviors as well as refraining from behaviors that would result in injury and/or harm to others."

    On July 7, the Army diagnosed him with PTSD and ordered that he could return to duty, but that he must be monitored at all times and barred from guns (a notation states that he "currently denies" feeling homicidal or suicidal). The Army said he "will be command directed to Psych upon return to CONUS (the Continental United States)." On July 10, Burgoyne arrived at Fort Benning and was released after the session with the counselor. Police said he was present when Davis was stabbed to death in the early morning of July 15.

    The records show the Army was aware that Burgoyne had a history of mental problems and violent behavior. They note he previously had been seen at Fort Benning for mental health problems and cite "hospitalization for suicide attempt in May 02" along with an earlier hospitalization in Florida for anxiety and depression. He had received seven formal reprimands, called "Article 15s," for problems including fights. According to published reports, he was sentenced to a month in prison for a fight earlier this year at Fort Benning that put another soldier in a coma. But after two weeks, he was released to fight in Iraq.
    Last edited by VICEROY06; May 17th, 2013, 10:01 AM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Discharged for PTSD

      I know many that were med boarded for PTSD/TBI issues.

      Did you read this?

      http://www.armytimes.com/article/201...-Iraq-killings

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Discharged for PTSD

        Originally posted by Chief Kemosabe View Post
        I know many that were med boarded for PTSD/TBI issues.

        Did you read this?

        http://www.armytimes.com/article/201...-Iraq-killings
        Thanks for your reply.

        Yes, I've crossed this article and many others over the years. My interest in this problem was piqued several years before I enlisted, not as a result of "overhearing rumors at the armory". As part of being a member of a doctoral cohort I had to research a colleague's thesis work who was compiling data on this issue. My concern is the gross number of active duty/reserve component and, particularly, veterans who are grossly neglected or underserved.

        Issues of this nature have also interested me for decades--Years ago my grandfather, who was a decorated WWII veteran, checked into a VA for a simple broken leg--He came out in a casket. He died of pneumonia and bed sores waiting for treatment. When it comes to issues like this it touches me quite close to my heart, which compels me to take issues like this very seriously.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Discharged for PTSD

          Yes, that is sad but at least the VA has improved. I actually had surgery at the Bronx VA for an issue I received in the Marine Corps. It was not the Bronx VA of yesterday that was depicted in the movie BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY.

          This is a good website and an article of a faker that took advantage of it.

          https://www.facebook.com/MilitaryMindsYT

          http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/arti...smelling-faker

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Discharged for PTSD

            Originally posted by Chief Kemosabe View Post
            Yes, that is sad but at least the VA has improved. I actually had surgery at the Bronx VA for an issue I received in the Marine Corps. It was not the Bronx VA of yesterday that was depicted in the movie BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY.

            This is a good website and an article of a faker that took advantage of it.

            https://www.facebook.com/MilitaryMindsYT

            http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/arti...smelling-faker
            What a clown. I get involuntarily angry when I read articles of this nature. People impersonating NCO's and officers to get attention--Clowns wearing part of Army and Marine dress uniform, medals worn on civilian clothing, getting paid in the civilian sector for fraudulent military credentials and whatnot. I also lost my paternal grandfather to suicide. Years after serving in the Korean war he committed suicide. Years later and after much research I found out that he kept his mouth shut and served his country. While I understand that the military has improved greatly in helping veterans there are still a large number of soldiers that either ask for help and are denied or ignored or put on indefinate hold for a number of reasons. We still have a lot of issues even in this day and age, which is why I chose ultimately to go National Guard instead of Regular Army.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Discharged for PTSD

              Originally posted by VICEROY06 View Post
              What a clown. I get involuntarily angry when I read articles of this nature. People impersonating NCO's and officers to get attention--Clowns wearing part of Army and Marine dress uniform, medals worn on civilian clothing, getting paid in the civilian sector for fraudulent military credentials and whatnot. I also lost my paternal grandfather to suicide. Years after serving in the Korean war he committed suicide. Years later and after much research I found out that he kept his mouth shut and served his country. While I understand that the military has improved greatly in helping veterans there are still a large number of soldiers that either ask for help and are denied or ignored or put on indefinate hold for a number of reasons. We still have a lot of issues even in this day and age, which is why I chose ultimately to go National Guard instead of Regular Army.
              What issues are you referring to?

              http://militaryminds.ca/first-sgt-camacho-is-a-fraud/

              http://vimeo.com/39127639 <--The faker video

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Discharged for PTSD

                Originally posted by Chief Kemosabe View Post
                What issues are you referring to?

                http://militaryminds.ca/first-sgt-camacho-is-a-fraud/

                http://vimeo.com/39127639 <--The faker video
                Your faker video doesn't work.

                Are you asking about the issues I've researched?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Discharged for PTSD

                  It must be blocked at the computer you are on.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Discharged for PTSD

                    Originally posted by Chief Kemosabe View Post
                    What issues are you referring to?
                    Over 20,000 vets dying every year waiting to recieve VA benefits for one.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Discharged for PTSD

                      Fox News is giving reports on the article I linked earlier on the topic and shows my post at Fort Carson, Colorado.

                      http://www.democracynow.org/2013/5/2...trips_benefits

                      http://video.foxnews.com/v/239665522...se-since-2006/
                      Last edited by Chief Kemosabe; May 27th, 2013, 07:41 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Discharged for PTSD

                        Originally posted by Chief Kemosabe View Post
                        Fox News is giving reports on the article I linked earlier on the topic and shows my post at Fort Carson, Colorado.

                        http://www.democracynow.org/2013/5/2...trips_benefits

                        http://video.foxnews.com/v/239665522...se-since-2006/
                        Thanks for the footage. I've viewed many interviews of veterans some even shrouded in darkness while they told their stories.

                        Originally posted by Chief Kemosabe View Post
                        Fox News is giving reports on the article I linked earlier on the topic and shows my post at Fort Carson, Colorado.

                        http://www.democracynow.org/2013/5/2...trips_benefits

                        http://video.foxnews.com/v/239665522...se-since-2006/

                        Many former AD soldiers on here may be offended at what I'm about to say but it's the truth: This is exactly the reason why I chose not to go the active duty route. People can post all kinds of criticisms and 'you don't know' comments all they want--I'll take my civilian group insurance over military services any day. Just within the time I've been in I fractured my ankle in BCT. They decided to put a cast on my leg. They gave me the choice of rehab there on base or con leave. After seeing how guys were mistreated and given the runaround for months on end on base I chose con leave.

                        I went to my sports medicine doctor, made X-rays, and he laughed at the cast. He cut it off and put me in an ASO ankle brace. Long story short, I healed in less than half the time I would have at Ft. Benning. I was told the Guard would pay for rehabilitation. They gave me a P.O.C. and everything. It's been nearly two years since rehab, several calls, and person-to-person meetings and I'm STILL looking at a $300 bill that the Guard never picked up. So, I'm going to just pay it off myself. I would have been better off if I had just gone to a civilian emergency room and recieved care there. My group insurance would have picked up every dime of the cost after the $100 deductible.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Discharged for PTSD

                          Originally posted by VICEROY06 View Post
                          My group insurance would have picked up every dime of the cost after the $100 deductible.
                          Correction: No deductible.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Discharged for PTSD

                            Powerful article

                            http://www.stripes.com/news/us/a-sol...tinez-1.227925

                            http://www.stripes.com/an-officer-on-the-brink-1.227483

                            http://www.stripes.com/news/afghan-d...areer-1.227710

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