People of Northwest Public Radio
Wed April 4, 2012
Murray Holds Field Hearing On Vet Care
U.S. Senator Patty Murray held a field hearing in Tacoma Wednesday. She was listening to vets regarding the challenges they’re facing getting mental health care and jobs.
The hearing follows the recent scandal around the misdiagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress
Disorder in returning soldiers.
Dozens of PTSD diagnosis’ were overturned at Madigan Army Medical Center at Joint
Olympia veteran Sara Lillegard was an intelligence analyst with the 5th Stryker Brigade.
She says her tour of duty in Afghanistan was exceptionally violent.
Many of her fellow soldiers died.
When she returned Lillegard was diagnosed with PTSD but eventually refused care.
“It was very painfully clear to me that the only thing that my unit and the vast majority of medical people that I spoke to cared about was not getting blamed for some sort of outburst on my part. Which was yet another incentive to not talk to anyone about how I was feeling truthfully.”
Lelligard says she believes, as did others in her unit, that having a paper trail of mental or
behavioral health problems would harm her career.
Army medical staff and Veterans Health officials also testified at the hearing.
They say they’re working to address issues around diagnosis, treatment and access to care.
Last week Murray began an investigation into whether military hospitals across the country are
denying treatment to service members with post-traumatic stress disorder because of cost
Copyright 2012 KUOW