TAKING CARE OF SOLDIERS
“Specialist Town Takes His Case to Washington,” by Joshua Kors [Oct. 15], contained numerous inaccuracies, despite our providing written response.
(a) The Army medical family has a strong commitment to taking care of soldiers. If a soldier believes he or she was discharged incorrectly, the formal mechanism is an appeal to the Army Board for the Correction of Military Records. However, due to my concern over these issues, they may provide their information directly to me, and I will ensure review of their records.
(b) A personality disorder diagnosis does not necessarily mean that a medical evaluation board is needed. It indicates that a soldier has personality traits that are not compatible with military service. A personality disorder diagnosis does not negate a medical evaluation board if that is warranted by other illnesses or injury.
(c) It is unacceptable for any provider to be pressured to falsely diagnose a patient. I ask any individual who may have information about such allegations to come forward to my office or to the Inspector General so that the allegations can be fully investigated.
(d) The behavioral health officers at the Army hospital at Fort Carson reviewed the Chapter 5-13 cases in soldiers who were diagnosed with PTSD. The data demonstrated that there were no soldiers separated under Chapter 5-13 in the last four years who should have undergone a medical evaluation board.
(e) Some specific cases were brought to my attention, and they were reviewed by the chief of the psychiatry department at the Fort Carson hospital. A second level of review was done by behavioral health staff in my office. In all of these cases, the documents reflected appropriate medical care.
(f) Mental health records contain a great deal of information about the soldiers’ prior history, family of origin, substance use, previous patterns of behavior, as well as their current behavioral issues. A review of the chart normally reveals a wealth of diagnostic information, to include psychological testing. Routinely, there is evidence in the record to substantiate the diagnosis. The soldiers are also screened for posttraumatic stress disorder, head trauma and other medical diagnoses, and those symptoms, or lack thereof, are recorded in the charts.
The bottom line is that we care about soldiers and are committed to providing them the best care possible. Again, due to my concerns, soldiers may provide their information to me, and I will have their records reviewed.
MAJ. GEN. GALE S. POLLOCK
Acting Surgeon General, US Army
Mt. Vernon, N.Y.
The diagnosis of personality disorder attributed to veterans of combat operations is not applicable to returning soldiers. In order to have pre-existing conditions, veterans would have to have had a diagnosis of conduct disorder prior to their eighteenth birthday.