People of Northwest Public Radio
PTSD Diagnosis Investigation
Thu August 2, 2012
Army Gives Few Details On Investigation Into PTSD Diagnoses
This week the Army announced that it will no longer use a special psychiatry unit to evaluate soldiers with PTSD at Madigan Army Medical Center in Lakewood. Thursday, Army leadership from Madigan met with reporters.
The unit that had been under scrutiny is Madigan’s forensic psychiatry team. That unit reversed more than 300 diagnoses of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Those service members are now being re-evaluated.
Madigan’s top commander says he’s not sure how many of the re-evaluations from Madigan have been completed or the status of those diagnoses.
Madigan’s forensic psychiatry team used a questionnaire to determine if soldiers under consideration for retirement were faking symptoms. Forensic evaluations often are used in legal proceedings for competency hearings.
The results of the investigation by the Army Surgeon General have not been released.
Army leaders from Madigan did not discuss the investigation with reporters. But they did try to dismiss speculation by some that the forensic psychiatry team’s efforts were meant to save money in disability payments.
Major General Richard Thomas is the commander of Western Regional Medical Command.
Thomas: “Quite frankly it disturbs me to hear that because those allegations are untrue, absolutely untrue in my experience as an army doctor over these years, over the course of my career. We want to take care of these guys."
Rather, he says the investigation revealed that use of forensic psychiatry to evaluate disability cases is inappropriate. Thomas says Madigan’s behavioral health practitioners will now handle PTSD evaluations.
The Department of Defense is now reviewing how PTSD is diagnosed throughout the Armed Forces.
Copyright 2012 KUOW