“A controversy erupted after several servicemen stationed at JBLM complained about the PTSD screening team—the only one of its kind in the military—at Madigan that overturned their original diagnoses. Internal memos emerged revealing that the military psychiatrists had been told by higher-ups to consider the long-term cost of a PTSD diagnosis, which qualifies a soldier for a lifetime of increased disability payments. In some cases, the memos noted, the total taxpayer burden could be as much as $1.5 million for a single soldier over the course of his or her lifetime.”
Whenever reading articles that suggest there might be a conversation in the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) that it is too costly to treat moral injury and PTSD, it makes me sad. The recent incident at Madigan is an example of using slick tactics to control the diagnosis of PTSD, and therefore “save money.” My Dad spent most of his life after WWII suffering with emotional challenges from his extended combat duty. He was not diagnosed officially with PTSD until later in life, when treatment finally came. Dad was able to control his PTSD for the remainder of his life. Dad, like countless others from WWII and future wars, sacrificed for our freedoms during the war and often for most of their lives after the war without treatment. How much money did we save by not knowing enough about the effects of moral injury from combat? How many emotional lives can be saved now that we do know how to treat the symptoms of PTSD and help combat veterans transition to a happy, healthy, and productive life after war? You can’t put a price tag on this one!
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story