Soldiers Face Neglect, Frustration At Army's Top Medical Facility


    behind the door of army spec. jeremy duncan's room, part of the wall is torn and hangs in the air, weighted down with black mold. when the wounded combat engineer stands in his shower and looks up, he can see the bathtub on the floor above through a rotted hole. the entire building, constructed between the world wars, often smells like greasy carry-out. signs of neglect are everywhere: mouse droppings, belly-up cockroaches, stained carpets, cheap mattresses.
    this is the world of building 18, not the kind of place where duncan expected to recover when he was evacuated to walter reed army medical center from [color=#0c4790]iraq last february with a broken neck and a shredded left ear, nearly dead from blood loss. but the old lodge, just outside the gates of the hospital and five miles up the road from the white house, has housed hundreds of maimed soldiers recuperating from injuries suffered in the wars in iraq and [color=#0c4790]afghanistan.
    [color=#0c4790]the wounded and walter reed
    [color=#333333]five and a half years of sustained combat have transformed the venerable 113-acre walter reed army medical center into a holding ground for physically and psychologically damaged outpatients.

    special report

    [color=#333]washington post stories and multimedia reports about iraq, afghanistan, the war on terror and more.
    [color=#333]• [color=#0c4790]faces of the fallen
    [color=#0c4790]veterans: in their own words
    [color=#0c4790]afghan reconstruction
    [color=#0c4790]full coverage

    the common perception of walter reed is of a surgical hospital that shines as the crown jewel of military medicine. but 5 1/2 years of sustained combat have transformed the venerable 113-acre institution into something else entirely -- a holding ground for physically and psychologically damaged outpatients. almost 700 of them -- the majority soldiers, with some marines -- have been released from hospital beds but still need treatment or are awaiting bureaucratic decisions before being discharged or returned to active duty.
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Feb 19, '07 : Reason: delete blogs
  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   oramar
    This is a nightmare I hoped never to have again. Some people are saying don't compare Iraq to Vietnam. Well in one area they are exactly the same. Crappy treatment of wounded vets. This all sounds so familiar.
  4. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I am disgusted, but not surprised at the truth to such horror stories.
  5. by   pickledpepperRN
    Wounded and waiting
    A slow medical evaluation process leaves many injured troops in limbo

    I think we need to support those who served. Especially the wounded both nedically and mentally.

    I recently volunteered at a rehab facility where many veterans are patients. Here are some things I was told.

    "I'm sick of hearing, "Thank you for your service". Do something for my family."

    "They should remove the 'D' from PTSD. It is not a disorder. It is an injury. Combat will injure anyone only they may not show it for a while."

    A visitor said, "I was exposed to DU in the first gulf war. I have had two kinds of cancer before my 40th birthday. They told me it was all in my mind but my mother took me to a civilian doctor. When I see a yellow ribbon magnet ordering drivers to 'support the troops' I want to shoot a hole in it."

    There is an incredible mix of emotions - denial, anger, sadness, kindness, hopelesness. I think "support the troops' must continue for thei lifetime.
    When I give food to homeless people some tell me I am just contributing to their "habits". It is food! And many of these people are veterans.
    How can we support our troops?
    Care for them during and after their service!
  6. by   pickledpepperRN
    Wounded Soldiers Fight Off Bill Collectors at Home

    Congressman Calls It 'Financial Friendly Fire'; Military Blames Payroll Errors
    April 26, 2006 — - Hundreds of soldiers wounded in battle in Iraq have found themselves fighting off bill collectors on the home front, according to a report to be released tomorrow. The draft report by the Government Accountability Office, which ABC News obtained, said that hundreds of wounded soldiers had military debts incurred through no fault of their own turned over to collection agencies.

    "Financial friendly fire," said Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., chairman of the House Committee on Government Reform. "Because their financial records are so bad, this is a friendly fire where we are hurting and wounding our own."