Having served in the Air Force for many years during the Viet Nam war, I certainly have treated many military folks who had serious emotional issues. When the person with the issues was one of us (mental health professionals), my experience was that everything was hushed up, and the individual got an automatic pass because he/she is a “professional” in a medical specialty.
Major Malik Hasan is yet another example of someone who was hidden within “the system.” Having received poor evaluations from his supervisors at Walter Reed for his incompetent treatment of patients, including proselytizing about his Muslim beliefs TO HIS PATIENTS, he still gets promoted to Major and is given orders to go to Afghanistan to “treat” emotionally distraught troops.
Major Hasan should have been switched from psychiatrist to patient and been treated for his mental illness and then either brought back into the fold or given a medical discharge from the Army. He obviously was not fit for duty. As a matter of fact, I don’t believe that his superiors who looked the other way, promoted him and put him in front of vulnerable troops are not fit for duty either. They should be courts martialed!
Major Hasan and his superiors are exceptions, rather than the rule in the military. All of the services are filled with competent and dedicated mental health professionals who are focused on making a significant difference in the lives of soldiers who are in need of their services. However, we obviously cannot tolerate even one exception to the fine standards most medical personnel exhibit. Our troops need to feel completely safe among their own medical staffs.
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