Walter Reed Story

Discussion in 'Politics' started by rufus, Apr 2, 2007.

  1. rufus

    rufus
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    Chief of Chaplains @ Walter Reed AMC
    > > >
    > > >
    > > > This e-mail is from the Chief of Chaplains at Walter Reed. He
    > provides his perspective on the Walter Reed story that has received so
    > much attention in recent weeks. Yet, this is a reminder. This story is
    > ultimately not about peeling paint, but a system that no one challenged
    > for years. Our warriors deserve so much better.
    > > >
    > > > I have had enough and am going to give my perspective on the news
    > about Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Please understand that I am
    > speaking for myself and I am responsible for my thoughts alone. The news
    > media and politicians are making it sound like Walter Reed is a terrible
    > place and the staff here has been abusing our brave wounded soldiers;
    > what a bunch of bull!
    > > >
    > > > I am completing my 24th year of service in the Army next month so
    > you decide for yourself if I have the experience to write about this
    > topic. I have been the senior clinical chaplain at Walter Reed for four
    > years and will leave to go back to the infantry this summer. I supervise
    > the chaplain staff inside Walter Reed that cares for the 200 inpatients,
    > the 650+ daily outpatients from the war who come to us for medical care,
    > the 4000+ staff, and over 3000 soldiers and their families that come for
    > clinical appointments daily. Walter Reed has cared for over 5500 wounded
    > from the war. I cannot count the number of sick and non-battle injured
    > that have come through over that timeframe. The staff at this facility
    > has done an incredible job at the largest US military medical center
    > with the worst injured of the war. We have cared for over 400 amputees
    > and their families. I am privileged to serve the wounded, their
    > families, and our staff.
    > > >
    > > > When the news about building 18 broke I was on leave. I was in shock
    > when the news broke. We in the chaplains office in Walter Reed, as well
    > as the majority of people at Walter Reed, did not know anyone was in
    > building 18. I didn't even know we had a building 18. How can that
    > happen? Walter Reed is over 100 acres of 66 buildings on two
    > installations. Building 18 is not on the installation of Walter Reed and
    > was believed to be closed years ago by our department. The fact that
    > some leaders in the medical brigade that is in charge of the outpatients
    > put soldiers in there is terrible. That is why the company commander,
    > first sergeant, and a group of platoon leaders and platoon sergeants
    > were relieved immediately. They failed their soldiers and the Army. The
    > commanding general was later relieved (more about this) and his sergeant
    > major has been told to move on--if he gets to. The brigade sergeant
    > major was relieved and more relief's are sure to come and need to.
    > > >
    > > > As any leader knows, if you do not take care of soldiers, lie, and
    > then try to cover it up, you are not worthy of the commission you hold
    > and should be sent packing. I have no issue, and am actually proud, that
    > they did relieve the leaders they found who knew of the terrible
    > conditions some of our outpatients were enduring. The media is making it
    > sound like these conditions are rampant at Walter Reed and nothing could
    > be further from the truth. We need improvements and will now get them. I
    > hate it that it took this to make it happen.
    > > >
    > > > The Army and the media made MG Weightman, our CG, out to be the
    > problem and fired him. This was a great injustice. He was only here for
    > six months, is responsible for military medical care in the 20 Northeast
    > states, wears four "hats" of responsibilities, and relies on his
    > subordinate leaders to know what is happening in their areas of
    > responsibilities. He has a colonel that runs the hospital (my hospital
    > commander), a colonel that runs the medical brigade (where the
    > outpatient wounded are assigned and supposedly cared for), and a colonel
    > that is responsible to run the garrison and installation. What people
    > don't know is that he was making many changes as he became aware of them
    > and had requested money to fix other places on the installation. The
    > Army did not come through until four months after he asked for the
    > money, remember that he was here only six months, which was only days
    > before they relieved him. His leaders responsible for outpatient care
    > did not tell him about conditions in building 18. He has been an
    > incredible leader who really cares about the wounded, their families,
    > and our staff. I cannot say the same about a former commander, who was
    > my first commander here at Walter Reed, and definitely knew about many
    > problems and is in the position to fix them and he did not. MG Weightman
    > also should not be held responsible for the military's unjust and
    > inefficient medical board system and the problems in the VA system. We
    > lost a great leader and passionate man who showed he had the guts to
    > make changes and was doing so when he was made the scapegoat for others.
    > > >
    > > > What I am furious about is that the media is making it sound like
    > all of Walter Reed is like building 18. Nothing could be further from
    > the truth. No system is perfect but the medical staff provides great
    > care in this hospital. What needs to be addressed, and finally will, is
    > the bureaucratic garbage that all soldiers are put through going into
    > medical boards and medical retirements. Congress is finally giving the
    > money that people have asked for at Walter Reed for years to fix places
    > on the installations and address shortcomings. What they don't want you
    > to know is Congress caused many problems by the BRAC process saying they
    > were closing Walter Reed. We cannot keep nor attract all the quality
    > people we need at Walter Reed when they know this place will close in
    > several years and they are not promised a job at the new hospital. Then
    > they did this thing call A76 where they fired many of the workers here
    > for a company of contractors, IAP, to get a contract to provide care
    > outside the hospital proper. The company, which is responsible for
    > maintenance, only hired half the number of people as there were
    > originally assigned to maintenance areas to save money. Walter Reed
    > leadership fought the A76 and BRAC process for years but lost. Congress
    > instituted the BRAC and A76 process; not the leadership of Walter Reed.
    > > >
    > > > What I wish everyone would also hear is that for every horror story
    > we are now hearing about in the media that truly needs to be addressed,
    > you are not hearing about the hundreds of other wounded and injured
    > soldiers who tell a story of great care they received. You are not
    > hearing about the incredibly high morale of our troops and the fact that
    > most of them want to go back, be with their teammates, and finish the
    > job properly. You should be very proud of the wounded troopers we have
    > at Walter Reed. They make me so proud to be in the Army and I will fight
    > to get their story out.
    > > >
    > > > I want you to hear the whole story because our wounded, their
    > families, our Army, and the nation need to know that many in the media
    > and select politicians have an agenda. Forget agendas and make the
    > changes that have been needed for years to fix problems in every
    > military hospital and the VA system. The poor leaders will be identified
    > and sent packing and good riddance to them. I wish the same could be
    > said for the politicians and media personalities who are also
    > responsible but now want it to look like they are very concerned. Where
    > have they been for the last four years? I am ashamed of what they all
    > did and the pain it has caused many to think that everyone is like that.
    > Please know that you are not hearing the whole story.
    > > >
    > > > Please know that there are thousands of dedicated soldiers and
    > civilian medical staff caring for your soldiers and their families. When
    > I leave here I will end up deploying. When soldiers in my division have
    > to go to Walter Reed from the battlefield, I know they will get great
    > medical care. I pray that you know the same thing. God bless all our
    > troops and their families wherever they may be. God bless you all.
    > > >
    > > > Chaplain John L. Kallerson
    > > > Senior Chaplain Clinician
    > > >
    > > > A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents
    > and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents
    > eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.
    > - Max Planck
     
  2. Ps104_33

    Ps104_33
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    Can you provide a source/link for this?
     
  3. DQuixote

    DQuixote
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  4. Dragoon68

    Dragoon68
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    The inside story is sometimes not the same as the "juicy" one that's widely circulated for a different agenda.
     

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