Greg Kandra posted this at CBS News - After all the noise about conditions at Walter Reed (noise that really says big government does not work) I found it refreshing to read this.
Pentagon producer Mary Walsh sent us the following note late yesterday. It’s from a soldier who was treated at Walter Reed, with his views on conditions there. We’re re-printing it here, with some slight editing, to help give a fuller picture of that famous medical center, considered by many the premiere treatment center of its kind in the country. – Ed.
My account of the situation surrounding Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
I am SSG Daniel Metzdorf, I was a patient at Walter Reed (WRAMC) in 2004 and 2005. I spent approx. 14 months there all together. I was injured 27 Jan 2004 by a roadside bomb, IED, 55 miles south of Bagdad, Iraq. As a result of my injuries, I had my right leg amputated above the knee. I have had over 27 operations and countless hours of PT (physical therapy) & OT (occupational therapy) and prosthetic care. I attempted to stay on active duty with the 82nd Airborne Division and after my 3rd attempt and all the support of my chain of command, I was able to Continue on Active Duty (COAD). I reenlisted and stayed with the 82nd ABN DIV. I am now permanently assigned to the US Army Parachute Team, “The Golden Knights”.
Walter Reed Army Medical Center is the best medical care in the world!
Walter Reed is where miracles happen.
The problem is with the outpatient soldiers and the soldiers unit. When there are too many soldiers at WRAMC, and then the hospital is forced to find them some place to live. If the outpatient soldiers were proactive and the unit kept good accountability and tracking of their soldier, then he or she would return back to their home duty station and not take up space/ need space at WRAMC. I believe if there was a Non-Commissioned Officer in charge of tracking soldiers and their care and willing to order the soldier to return to there home duty station, the hospital would not have to be forced to use temporary housing like they are now.
I assure you that no soldier was in danger and at no time were the conditions there worse than in combat. I am a soldier and my life is being a soldier, I believe once you are injured and after you are an outpatient, you need to continue to be an asset to the military, i.e. get back to work, the tax payers aren’t paying us to sit around.
My unit at the time of my injury was the 82nd ABN DIV, I was contacted by phone and or email every other day by my unit. They knew when I was due back to work, if I was not going to be medically discharged. I never have heard any soldier complain about the medical care at WRAMC. I am not crazy about the food there, but who likes hospital food?
Soldiers in Reserve and National Guard units tend to be the majority of the out patients at WRAMC. Their units need to find a hospital near their home to take care of these soldiers. WRAMC is a “Major Treatment Facility” -- this is not a clinic to take care of colds or tennis elbow; the Army has Health Clinics for these types of injuries or illnesses. Also the MED Hold unit at WRAMC should be for special cases, not for every soldier, each Post has a MED Hold unit. That is where they need to go.
To fix the problem: Make a few Active duty Army position E-6/E-7, combat arms (someone who has been to combat) at WRAMC. Hiis sole position would be to track the soldiers’ treatment and care and to determine when they are not needing treatment from WRAMC, and then send them back to the control of their unit. This would ensure that WRAMC would not have too many people on its property. This would also alleviate the use of temporary housing.
Soldiers are not all the same, but these facts remain true of us all. We all volunteered, we all take orders, and we all have a responsibility to our great nation. If I had one thing to say to these soldiers, it would be: get back to your unit and become proactive. We need you and you are still part of this great organization, THE UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.
prying1 sez: Kudos to CBS for putting this out there.
To SSG Daniel Metzdorf - Hooah!!!!!
Write in Cary Cartter for President in 2008
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