PTSD Diagnoses Were Fixed at Walter Reed

(Adam Ashton)   In her resignation letter, Madigan Army Medical Center forensic psychiatrist Juliana Ellis-Billingsley wrote that the Army’s top behavioral health officer misled Madigan leaders about the results of an investigation into post-traumatic stress diagnoses at the hospital south of Tacoma.

Ellis-Billingsley wrote that Col. Rebecca Porter in early February told Madigan leaders that forensic psychiatrists at Walter Reed Military Medical Center had upheld the first 12 Madigan diagnoses they reviewed among a group of 14 soldiers who contested the behavioral health diagnoses they received from Madigan.

Three weeks later, Porter visited Madigan to deliver the results of the Walter Reed reviews to the soldiers themselves. They learned that Walter Reed overturned six Madigan diagnoses, deciding that those soldiers suffered from PTSD. In eight other cases, Walter Reed agreed with Madigan in diagnosing soldiers with conditions other than PTSD.

Madigan commander Col. Dallas Homas reportedly received the first news from Col. Porter at an Army medical health conference in Washington, D.C. Homas declined to comment today on Ellis-Billingsley’s letter.

Ellis-Billingsley wrote that Homas returned from Washington, D.C., and delivered what appeared to be good news to the Madigan psychiatrists.

“Each day we awaited the release of the information,” Ellis-Billingsley wrote. “Then on 18 February 2012 Col. Homas was administratively relieved and Col. (Mike) Heimall, a medical service officer, was named the interim commander. On 22 February 2012, we met with Col. Heimall and Col. (Karen) O’Brien. Col. Heimall announced that Walter Reed forensics concurred with the diagnoses on only 8 of 14 cases.

“It became patently clear to me that some force above Western Region (Medical Command) came to bear on Walter Reed forensics and they changed their diagnoses. This is professionally unethical. It is now my opinion that all the investigations are a charade as the outcome has been predetermined. Forces will come to bear on the investigators to meet political expediency.”

This is the question I asked Army Medical Command last week about Ellis-Billingsley’s letter:

“I have a resignation letter from a Madigan forensic psychologist. It says Col. Porter from Medical Command at early February’s MHS conference advised Madigan leaders that the Walter Reed reviews supported Madigan conclusions in 12 of 14 cases. This psychologist seems to believe those results were changed for political reasons. ‘It is now my opinion that all the investigations are a charade as the outcome has been predetermined,’ the psychologist wrote. Was Col. Porter speaking too soon? Will there be an investigation into the Walter Reed diagnoses to see if they were influenced for political reasons?”

This is the answer I received:

“Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is not an Army medical facility but a joint medical facility under the operational control of Joint Task Force Capital Medicine. The Army brought no undue influence or pressure to bear on Walter Reed to produce any particular results in these re-evaluations. Because Walter Reed is not an Army facility but a joint facility, it was well-placed to provide an unbiased look at these cases. We are aware of no particular influence brought to bear from any quarter on Walter Reed in this matter.”

4 Responses to PTSD Diagnoses Were Fixed at Walter Reed

  • Oh the language:
    "The Army brought no undue influence or pressure", yes there was pressure, but we feel it was justified.
    "We are aware of no particular influence ", just a general understanding that only a small percentage of veterans will suffer PTSD, and if you want to continue in the service it would be unwise to disagree with this determination. Call it something else if you have to.

  • I’m a Vietnam veteran. I can assure you things are much worse than the brass or the administration will admit. This really grinds on me. Causes a lot of pain and anxiety knowing we are feeding our youth into the grist mill. This time it will be much worse. I was in country for one year. I can’t imagine what multiple deployments will do mentally and physically. Mark my word on this: the fallout from all these guys coming back with their minds fried will be incalculable. Their rage and anger will be felt for generations. I pray for them.

  • Robertsgt40, you are absolutely right. I am also a Nam combat vet and I have nightmares about being called back for multiple tours. I can assure you once was enough for me. Unfortunately,the guys and gals coming home today will die off very quickly compared to the Nam vets. The radiation from the DU will finish them off. It will also reduce the world population. Our leaders are corrupt fools who don’t give a damn about the troops or the common citizens in this country or the world. As long as we have electronic voting machines we will never throw the jerks out.

  • A few years ago I was acquainted with a woman in her 20’s and her husband who befriended my 18 yr old son. My brief strange encounters with these people left me in shock on many levels. But one of them is related to this article, because he was a cook in Iraq, his home base was Ft Lewis. His wife got her health care (wink wink) from Madigan, and her husband did too when he was on leave from Iraq. Her medical problem was diagnosed as PTSD because she was always stressed and worried that he was dead, she received tranquilizers and I think a antidepressant. This is her story, I don’t know her actual medical record officially. Her husband was also diagnosed with PTSD from the horrors of being a (I was told) cook in Iraq? They gave him what was referred to military grade, pure Ecstasy ( I forgot what it’s medical name is) and a mixture of other drugs. They both were really drugged up, and she was scarey crazy, mostly because of drug use, knowing her was frightening, was lucky to have her exit my life. So from what I saw a few years ago, and I did see her prescriptions, I took her to Madigan once because she couldn’t drive (she was full of anxiety) and begged me to drive her there. She and her husband had loose mouths, her husband was quite a bit older than her, my dog hated him and my dog doesn’t hate anyone, that alone was disturbing to me. My views on this were that they are over drugging the soldiers and maybe they stopped using the PTST label for political reasons, but they are drugging the crap out of these guys. They need to find a drug for a conscience killing innocent people for the corporations. They may not know this consciously but they do and that’s why they are suffering it’s wrong and ugly from all angles.

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