Saturday, February 02, 2008

What are We Doing?!

Not only are we sending young people over to murder innocent people abroad but after they have done their "duty for their country" we treat them like shit. There was a story on the network news last night about medical malpractice within the military and the inability of soldiers to sue for malpractice. There is a law barring them from doing so. The reporters had come to interview an officer who was not told that he had skin cancer and so went eight years untreated. When the reporters arrived though, he was shrunken and all but withered away, bearing no resemblance to the loyal and robust officer in his late twenties that he had been. He died just minutes after they arrived. His son will receive only 55% of his benefits because he was forced into retirement by the condition that army doctors neglected to tell him he had, though the doctor made note of the melanoma in his records. This kind of medical malpractice is only part of the negligence the armed forces are guilty of with regard to their "employees". It is also clear that they show callous disregard (or worse) when it comes to mental health issues. Senator Barbara Boxer recently send this message to Army Chief of Staff George Casey about the sharp increase recently in suicides and suicide attempts among the armed forces:

I was alarmed to read in The Washington Post that 121 soldiers committed suicide and another 2,100 soldiers attempted suicide in 2007, the latter being a six-fold increase from 2002. Though I appreciate the efforts the Army has made to improve mental health care and services for our soldiers, I fear that the strain placed on our forces by frequent and lengthy deployments is simply becoming untenable for service members and their families. These tragic suicides and attempted suicides may be a terrible consequence of that strain.

I would also like an overview of what steps the Army is taking to address the increasing trend in suicides and suicide attempts. In particular, I would like to know:

· What action is the Army taking to reduce the stigma associated with soldiers suffering from mental health issues?

· How many mental health providers are deployed in support of our soldiers, and what impact has this had on the availability of mental health providers for our soldiers and their families in the United States?

· How many soldiers who have attempted or committed suicide have been under the care of a mental health professional?

· Does the Army need additional resources from Congress to assist in curbing the increasing trend in suicides?

Unfortunately, these terrible tragedies remind us of the grave consequences of sending our men and women into harm's way. But they also remind us that we can and should be doing more. As always, I remain committed to ensuring that our military has the best possible mental health resources and services in place to care for our men and women in uniform. I look forward to your response.


Barbara Boxer

United States Senator


two crows said...

hi, AC--
I commend for going as far as she went.

given the fact, tho, that Congress just keeps funding this damned war, her words ring rather hollow.

I need to nip over to the congressional pages and look up her voting record, I guess.

an average patriot said...

Hi two crows!
Soldiers have no rights! In many respects they are guinea pigs! I won't get into it but in the 70s I had 3 problems. once you sign that piece of paper you have no rights! most may be surprised but the military is full of new and foreign Doctors that do so many years in turn for their training as Doctors. A couple of my sons are in though and have no problems. As long as you stay healthy I guess!

two crows said...

hey, AC--
another factoid, fwiw --
as of August, 2008, some fed armed forces dept. [can't remember which one] is now denying the vote to our veterans.

they've denied non-partisan voter registrars access to various federal hospitals and homeless shelters for veterans.
that CLAIM that registering voters is a political act and is banned for that reason.
what do you want to bet that, if the registrars would require the vets to swear fealty to the GOP, there would be no problem with the voter recruiting efforts. it's BECAUSE it's being done in a non-partisan manner that it has been banned.

I read it on the Huffington Post -- and not a word in the MSM, fwiw.

.comment-timestamp { display:none; }