The past couple of days have been very trying as I have been dealing with trying to get simple basic follow up care for the PTSD that I have been dealing with since 2008. Over the past couple of days I have experienced the push back of a system that is attempting to save money at the expense of patients, and inexperienced treatment by mental health providers who are insolent, disrespectful and disdainful of the professional colleagues that they are treating.
Since I dealt with this at length last night I am not going to bore you with those details. Today was actually worse than yesterday as the provider made the situation worse. In fact the HIPPA violations and disrespectful treatment that would get a lawsuit in the civilian world, but active duty military can’t do that because of the Feres Doctrine. There are a couple of people seeing what they can do to get me help, and I am glad. However, if they are unsuccessful this will go to the highest ranks of the Navy Medicine system, to Congress and the media.
As I noted last night, our former Secretary of State and retired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Colin Powell said, referring to the country of Iraq: “You break it, you buy it.” this is certainly something that that certainly should apply to those who have served their country in combat and come back broken, just as much as it does to the nations that we occupy and destroy during war.
Last night I wrote and published the article about the terrible treatment I have received since trying to get back into therapy for my PTSD issues. This morning I received an e-mail from my mental health provider that displayed a tremendous, almost stupefying disregard of my experience, as well as the facts that are recorded in my medical records. That e-mail has settled the issue and hardened my resolve to see this through.
My provider basically told me that the choice was not mine to make. She offered me options that neither work for me as a patient, nor were clinically indicated based on my medical record. The sad thing is that as a professional I have probably have more clinical experience and training dealing with PTSD than most providers including her. The fact that she didn’t even graduate from medical school until the war in Iraq was almost over, and has not deployed herself and then treated me with such disregard and disdain.
As I said yesterday this is bullshit. First from the perspective of a senior officer I can totally understand why senior officers and enlisted personnel avoid the military mental health system. First there is the stigma, which whether we like it or not is still very real. I decided to ignore the stigma in order to get help. However, the stigma keeps many senior leaders from getting help as does the way they are treated when they do try to get help. The system refuses to deal with people as individuals and instead treat all patients regardless of their rank or experience as if they were 19 year-old recruits with no maturity or understanding.
As I mentioned last night I fear for senior leaders that do not get help because they are afraid of the stigma and the treatment by providers that treat them with disrespect; as well as the junior enlisted personnel that whether they seek treatment on their own, or are told to go by their command enter into a system that on the whole treats them with disrespect as if they were cattle.
The fact is that no matter if they are old veterans, or young men and women, they deserve better. Especially those suffering from PTSD, TBI or other combat stress injuries. They deserve the best the nation can offer, not sloppy seconds. As an old salt that I will fight for all of them, while I am in the military and after I retire.
Have a nice nice night,