Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Primum non Nocere - Army physicians serve bureaucracy instead of veterans

It has become common knowledge that veterans of the current military actions overseas have been regularly cheated out of the benefits due them by contract.

What is disturbing is that physicians are serving as a vehicle for this shameful practice.

BrokenSoldier relates his personal experiences being classified in his disability rating by bureaucratic interests acting through physicians. For example, migraines are a common result of concussions, and were able to be classified as "50% disability" if they met the frequency of twice per month and the pain was classified as "prostrating". However, when large numbers of soldiers ended up qualifying for this, the Army physicians were instructed to re-define "prostrating" as requiring that the servicemember sought immediate medical attention, which is a little difficult to do if you are forced prostrate from pain.

While it is certainly good to have some skepticism about these claims, I see a very good cause for investigating this both on a Congressional level and in the venue of the medical profession.

1 comment:

Sue Trinidad said...

I taught a class in healthcare ethics recently, and one of the students did a presentation on this issue. He interviewed several soldiers who said that they and their families had been browbeaten in an effort to get them to sign away their rights; that sometimes, physicians were involved in these efforts; that soldiers were asked to read and sign legally binding documents while they were not mentally competent or accompanied by family; and that some who applied for help for PTSD were told that they'd been classified as having a pre-existing personality disorder and so were not eligible. It was incredible to me, and not incredible, all at the same time. But I agree--why hasn't there been some kind of formal inquiry into such allegations?!