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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Does it ever change?

I found this Time Magazine article while trying to find information on the VA Hospital in Rutland Heights, Massachusetts, where I grew up and my dad was chief surgeon. We moved there after the time of the article, and probably they wanted my Dad because he had been a thoracic surgeon in WWII in Europe so he was a good surgeon and a vet, too.
What I find so surprising is that this article was written after the big one, the good war. Apparently the greatest generation was not the greatest generation when they got home. I think they probably had to fight to get good treatment just as Vietnam vets and OIF/OEF vets are having to do.
Most VA's these days have excellent medical care, but they are overwhelmed because during the previous administration, the VA budget was cut. This was an unfortunate but not unexpected result of a war begun by people who had never been to war. They had never seen the physical damage war does to people, so they failed to plan for the wounded. And like most foolish war planners through out history, they thought the war would be over in a few months.
They also believed the right-wing propaganda that real men are not bothered by war and PTSD is a left wing conspiracy against our troops, so they started attacking the diagnosis.
The actual left-or-right-wing conspiracy against our troops took place during the Vietnam War when DSM II came out (1968) and dropped all mention of post-traumatic reactions from the list of available diagnoses.
At the bottom of the article if you look closely there is a footnote that says:
"Veterans' Hospitals are of three types: general, neuropsychiatric, tuberculosis. More than half the patients are neuropsychiatric cases."

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