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Nov-20-2007 10:40printcomments

VA and PTSD Suicides: Medical Malpractice Fraud

Phillip Leveque has spent his life as a Combat Infantryman, Physician, Toxicologist and Pharmacologist.

Lisset Greene her children
Lisset Greene her children visit the grave of their husband and father Curtis Greene who committed suicide in December after returning from serving in Iraq. Courtesy: Kathleen Flynn/Times

(MOLALLA, Ore.) - The VA system is notorious for all of the above. CBS news just presented an expose of the "dirty laundry." It is far worse than almost anyone could have expected. Even Senator Patty Murray of the Senate Veterans Affairs committee was not able to get the true figures of veterans PTSD suicides from the VA.

The VA finally came up with 2200 suicides between 1995 and 2007, but this included only "active duty" soldiers. Obviously the Army of the VA got rid of them as soon as they could to minimize the correct number.

CBS reporters interviewed Dr. Ira Katz, Director of mental Health for the VA. I sympathize for the poor slob. His reaction was like a 12-year old boy just caught under the covers reading Hustler magazine.

CBS asked all 50 states vital statistics departments for suicides by veterans in 2005. The number was 6,256 in just one year.

For an infantry veteran with PTSD (me), this was an astonishing but never-the-less a believable figure to me, who has medically interviewed possibly at least one thousand combat veterans. I have heard that more Vietnam vets have committed suicide than were killed in battle. It was that kind of war.

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The young combat veterans from 20 to 24 had the highest rate of suicide. This did not surprise me. Young soldiers and Marines 18 to 20 do most of the fighting, killing and dying. They psychologically can't handle it, but they are ordered to do it and are expected to obey their orders, or else.

I felt my Army infantry service was like a perverse combination of a monastery and penitentiary. With the worse features of both. In World War II, the psychological outlet for these young guys, 18 to 20, was cigarettes and beer from the PX. I never saw so many of these guys smoking like chimneys and getting drunk any and all opportunities they had. Cigarettes killed most of them, and alcohol didn't do them any good.

Many were alcoholics when they got out of the service, and the VA's opinion was that they were condemned for being alcohol abusers. Meanwhile, it has been stated repeatedly that the VA's pharmaceutical and psychological treatment of PTSD has been a colossal failure.

The obscene number of suicides is a direct measure and result of the VA's medical malpractice and fraud. All veterans are assured that if they are wounded that the VA will take care of them. It should be obvious to anyone with two neurones that this is not happening, and has never happened.

Thanks to CBS news for this expose. Don't hold your breath for the VA to improve.

Editor's Note: If you know someone returning from Iraq or Afghanistan that may be having trouble, this is a good site to start: Not All Wounds Are Visible - PTSD Alliance
You can email your questions and comments to the doctor: newsroom@salem-news.com

More information on the history of Leveque can be found in his book, General Patton's Dogface Soldier of Phil Leveque about his experiences in WWII. Order the book by mail by following this link: Dogface Soldier.
If you are a World War Two history fan, you don't want to miss it.

Watch for Dr. Phil Leveque's streaming video question and answer segments about medical marijuana with Bonnie King.

Other articles and video segments about PTSD and medical marijuana on Salem-News.com:

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Nick November 21, 2007 12:04 am (Pacific time)

Im glad to see y'all are still some of the few posting real news. I think it is awesome, and you are doing a great job. Keep it up! :)

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

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