Monday, March 10, 2008

Just Sad

This is a story that appeared in a recent issue of Time Magazine. It is the story of Sergeant Gerald (GJ) Cassidy and how the Army did not take proper care of the injuries he sustained in Iraq. He was in an Army medical facility when he died. In essence the army killed him through neglect.

He was at an army hospital receiving treatment for severe migraine headaches. He was on methadone. This from the article:

Horrifyingly, it appears that Cassidy lived for up to two days after falling into a stupor. Forgotten and alone, he sat in his room until he died. "My God, he was there for three days, and no one even found him. That's a huge scandal," says Dr. William Kearney, Cassidy's Army psychiatrist. Regulations that require a soldier to show up for formation three times a day or be tracked down were widely ignored, say soldiers who stayed at Fort Knox. "You could easily linger for two days in a coma," Kearney says, "and if anybody had opened his door, they would have found him unconscious and they would have called 911."

The article continues:

Just as the Pentagon failed to anticipate the duration and cost of the Iraq war, it has been woefully unprepared for the waves of wounded who return home needing care. Earnest, hardworking medical personnel haven't been able to handle the deluge. At Fort Knox, Cassidy and more than 200 other soldiers were placed in a newly created Warrior Transition Unit (WTU). The Army is spending $500 million this year on such units, in which troops operate as a military detachment and continue to be paid. After a 2007 Washington Post series focused attention on poor conditions at the service's flagship Walter Reed hospital in Washington, the Army created the units to streamline the care of Army outpatients. There are currently 8,300 soldiers in 35 WTUS. One in 5 suffers from TBI, PTSD or both.

Once again the total lack of any "post war" planning by the Bush Administration is costing soldiers their lives. The tragic part is this is barely mentioned in the media. It is outrageous.

There are the usual oh we'll do better and this has shown we've got to work harder. "Now the Army is rushing to catch up, setting up screening tools and treatment plans to deal with TBI and a "center of excellence" dedicated to the challenge."

How many times do we have to hear this excuse? How many more soldiers have to die because of neglect and incompetence before something is really done? How come the public isn't more up in arms over this?

We make a big point, from the President on down, of saying how we won't forget the soldiers who have gone to war, how we'll honor them when then come home.

When does that rhetoric become a reality?

I know the troops are dying to find out.

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