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February 22, 2007

The Truth About Walter Reed

by @ 2:32 am. Filed under Milblogging, Troop Support, Walter Reed

WR on the 4th

I’ve been brooding over the anti-Military hit piece for two days. There’s so much that needs to be explained and the current MSM hysterics need to be tempered with a dose of reality, but I haven’t come up with the right words.

Andi has said everything in three posts that I’ve been thinking since the WaPo story broke, starting with Let’s Discuss “The Other Walter Reed”.

Yesterday, the Washington Post featured a sensational front-page story on the dirty little secrets of Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Secrets they would have you believe were previously only known to those on the inside. After some stomach-churning accounts of the trials that face wounded soldiers assigned to Walter Reed, the authors stated:

This world is invisible to outsiders.

Are the problems revealed by the Post reporters real? Yes, indeed they are. See this first-hand account. But, as with most things that the media expose, there is much more to the story than meets the eye.

When the story broke, my inbox began chirping. Many people know that over the past two years, I’ve spent a lot of time at Walter Reed. What did I think? How could this be? Look at what the MSM is doing. Have you seen this? Is it true?

Any reasonable person reading the WaPo story would be outraged, as they should be, but after I read the story, I accurately predicted what would soon follow. While there is merit to this story, I knew that this issue would become a hot, political baton used by some to beat the Bush administration, and our military, over the head. I’ll bet the Washington Post did too.

I hate the smarmy, tabloid manner in which the WaCompost stories were written, but having been a regular volunteer at the hospital for a year and a half, I’ve known about the same problems that Andi and all the other folks have heard or dealt with personally and I am glad that the situation is getting some badly needed attention. Just remember that the problems are in the administration, NOT the quality of health care.

I’ve heard some rather off-topic and hysterical pronouncements about the Walter Reed story. It’s important to distinguish between medical care and administrative issues. Walter Reed does indeed provide first-class medical care. I can attest to this firsthand.

6 Responses to “The Truth About Walter Reed”

  1. Karen I. Says:

    Thanks for clearing that up. I believe there have been maintenance issues in a number of VA’s over the years regardless of who is at the helm. They should fix things right away. I’m glad the care is still great and they should emphasize that on these type of show.

  2. jim b Says:

    I have like many others visited a couple of VA hospitals. There is a difference between a VA hospital (there are two in our area) and a military hospital.

    Perhaps it is just me, but I have always found the building itself to be depressing(VA Hospitals).

    Military hospitals are nothing to write home about, but at least they are in the main stream of things. The VA hospital is definitely a “Back water” thing to me.

    That is why it is so important to go visit the places and let the guys and girls there know they are not forgotten. Let them know they are appreciated. The paint and the plaster is just that. The warmth that is so important to healing comes from family and friend, and visitors who assure them they are not throw aways. Their sacrifice is important, and it is noted.

    And remember in this age of terrorism, there but for the grace of God, goes us.

  3. Sammy D Says:

    Thanks GN – mainly for your dedicated work at the hospital, and for your insights on the situation. Good reminders from Jim B. too.

  4. Rex Says:

    Thank God you are on top of this! Anything against our country or the armed forces is all they want to print

  5. Sssteve Says:

    GN, great wrap up! I beleive that if they had found nothing wrong they still would have spun it to be bad! The place could have looked like John Hopkins inside and there would have been something Bush or Rummy had screwed up! Those media guys are bastards!

  6. Navy Wife Says:

    Gunnutt is so right. There is a HUGE difference between the medical care and the administrative problems. I was livid when I first read the Post article because the first paragraph of the original article IMPLIED that the entire Walter Reed hospital was full of mold, wall paper hanging from the ceiling, etc. Wasn’t that all of your initial reactions? Isn’t that the image we see every night on our TV?

    Our family has been using that hospital on both an inpatient and outpatient basis since 1978 and that hospital is spotless.

    Now, many of us have known that building 18 is in no great shapes, but the lousy base closure board is closing the hospital even though it is their “crown jewel of Army medicine.” How can that be if it isn’t good enough to keep open? Ask your politicians that question.

    What is not taken into consideration by the politicians and knee-jerk media is that that neighborhood is not where you want any of our boys staying. I would suppose that the Army rented or leased building 18 as an overflow and then didn’t have the money to fix it up.

    They just finished a state of the art rehab center on the campus at Walter Reed several years ago, and they have quite a bit of unused land on that 113 acre site where a decent handicapped-accessible outpatient hotel could have been built except that they are CLOSING IT ALL DOWN IN THREE YEARS. What are they going to do with the rehab center? Bulldoze it?

    As for the outpatient staffing problems and difficulty with paperwork, that does need fixing! I did not realize the staff was so small and overwhelmed by their caseloads.

    I’m sorry General Wightman got fired. Poor man had only been there for six months and it sounds like the buck should stop at the desks of our politicians. Oh dear, sorry to rant, Gunnutt!!

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