Veteranclaims’s Blog

November 13, 2009

Folowup Care of Ft. Hood Shooter, Is it Being Done?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — veteranclaims @ 10:28 pm

We voiced a concern about the former patients of the alleged Ft. Hood Shooter and wondered what was being done for them.

A retired psychiatrist shares our concerns stating: “”To potentially save some lives that might be lost to suicide among his former patients, the crucial thing is for the clinical leadership to [find other mental health care providers] who also knew the patients that Hasan had and to take the time to talk to the people who knew these patients and if possible, to work through them to take a reading on how [the patients] were digesting these terrible events,” Shay said.”

Full article at: Alleged Army gunman’s former patients need follow-up care, observers say

By Katherine McIntire Peters kpeters@govexec.com November 12, 2009

“If your doctor went on a killing spree, you might question the kind of care he provided, especially if he was ministering to your mental health. Thus, after law enforcement officials took Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan into custody at Fort Hood, Texas, last Thursday after he allegedly shot dozens of fellow soldiers and civilians, killing 13, service medical personnel should have started contacting patients formerly treated by the doctor, experts say.

“First, I’d get a list of all the patients he’d ever treated and get in contact with them,” said Dr. Thomas P. Lowry, a psychiatrist who served two years as a doctor in the Air Force and then held the top psychiatry positions at four hospitals before retiring in 1999. It’s important to know how the doctor’s former patients perceived him and understand the care they received, he said.

Dr. Jonathan Shay, who spent 20 years as a Veterans Affairs Department psychiatrist specializing in the treatment of combat trauma before retiring last year, said some of Hasan’s former patients might worry that the stories they shared in therapy sessions could have contributed to the doctor’s state of mind, or even feel some responsibility for the killings.

“To potentially save some lives that might be lost to suicide among his former patients, the crucial thing is for the clinical leadership to [find other mental health care providers] who also knew the patients that Hasan had and to take the time to talk to the people who knew these patients and if possible, to work through them to take a reading on how [the patients] were digesting these terrible events,” Shay said.

It’s not clear if that is happening. When asked what steps the service is taking to ensure proper medical care of the patients under Hasan’s care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington and Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood, Army spokeswoman Col. Catherine Abbott said she could not provide that information.

“All these issues will be looked at as part of the Army’s examination of itself,” Abbott said. Officials at Walter Reed and Darnell also declined to comment on the issue or provide any information about what kind of care the former patients are receiving.

“You cannot be sure that it’s even happening,” Shay said.

Army officials declined to say how many patients Hasan saw in his duties. Psychiatrists typically treat the most vulnerable soldiers who have suffered devastating losses, physically and emotionally.”

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