February 18, 2007

Just Beneath The Surface


After a four month investigation on the quiet, WAPO offers an inside look at outpatient conditions at Walter Reed hospital.

What we see in the article and slide show is alarming, if not surprising.  According to the report, Walter Reed has over 700 outpatient Iraq veterans in its care.  These soldiers have been released from hospital beds, but either continue to require treatment. or are caught in a limbo between reassignment and discharge.  This population, outnumbering formal hospital patients 17 to 1, is mostly housed in local apartments or leased hotel rooms.

The slideshow mostly features visibly injured vets, emphasizing their inferior medical management or bureaucratic treatment. The shot above is an exception, however.  The article focuses on one location, Building 18, an old lodge just beyond the hospital.  Pointing out a severe infestation of mold is occupant Specialist Jeremy Duncan, who returned from Iraq with severe injuries, including a broken neck.

This image is the perfect metaphor for a facility with a stellar name which is festering underneath.  WAPO drives home the point with a quote from Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, head of a House committee which has investigated problems at Walter Reed.  Says Davis: “Even the stuff they’ve fixed has only been patched.”

If you consider how many other facets of the war the phrase applies to, the pictures should only keep coming.

(image: Michel du Cille – The Washington Post.  February 18, 2007.  washingtonpost.com. h/t: thinkprogress.com)

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Michael Shaw
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