by Sharon Rondeau

(Oct. 3, 2016) — A U.S. Army soldier who remains on active duty despite a documented disability was hospitalized on Thursday at Walter Reed National Military Medical Hospital (WRNMMC).

For the last three years, the soldier has resided in an apartment provided to him adjacent to the hospital other than during times when he was sent out of state for memory treatment in Texas and Florida.

Early on Thursday evening, the soldier’s power of attorney received a call from Sgt. Anthony E. Hill reporting that the soldier had experienced some type of emotional episode in which he allegedly expressed a desire to possibly harm himself and had then voluntarily gone to the Walter Reed emergency room to check himself in for observation.

Hill told the POA that the soldier’s assigned Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) had “quit on Wednesday” allegedly because of the soldier’s erratic behavior.  The POA said she was not contacted about anything having been amiss before Thursday evening.

On September 1, the soldier, who was on approved leave at the time, was descended upon by at least five Warrior Transition Brigade (WTB) members in the soldier’s chain of command without notice and told to report to the Walter Reed emergency room for “evaluation” immediately.  One of the officers in the group, Major Daniel Ryals, told the soldier that there would be “negative consequences” if he did not follow their orders.

The soldier complied, and the events that evening were recorded with all parties’ knowledge.  After the soldier reported to the emergency room and was evaluated by the psychiatrist on duty, she pronounced him fit and able to return to his apartment at Walter Reed.  “Whatever political battle they have going on, I’m not losing my career over it,” the psychiatrist was quoted by witnesses as having declared.

Upon learning of the “forced evaluation,” the POA said that the soldier is “constantly getting harassed” by WTB medical personnel.

On April 29, 2013, while on active duty, the soldier suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI).  He has reported that on that day, he was sexually assaulted by four perpetrators, burned, urinated upon, and thrown into moving traffic, where he struck his head on a vehicle windshield.  Gen. Larry Wyche, the commander at Ft. Lee at the time, reportedly did not order an investigation despite his strong outward stance against suicide and sexual assault in the military.

The POA has filed a number of complaints against the soldier’s former Walter Reed neuropsychiatrist, Dr. David Williamson, whose quiet departure from the military medical center after 30 years of employment there was confirmed by Sgt. Anthony E. Hill on Thursday speaking as a representative for Walter Reed and the Warrior Transition Brigade. The POA stated that he/she was very disappointed that neither the Director of Walter Reed, Col. Michael S. Heimall, nor the Media Relations department delivered this news to the family considering the number of complaints filed against personnel at Walter Reed. The family is still waiting on a response from Walter Reed’s leadership team.

In a telephone call on Thursday evening recorded with the parties’ knowledge, Hill told the POA that at about 7:30 a.m., the soldier reportedly “got into an altercation with the commander, Debbie and Sgt. First Class Rivera upstairs, saying they were not doing their jobs, he’s ready to go…” Hill then quoted the soldier as allegedly having said to him, “I’m frustrated, I’m ready to go, I found out that people in my family are taking advantage of me…”

“He was talking off the wall, his mom was stealing money from him, the CNAs are stealing money from him, he’s about to become a general…” Hill said of the soldier’s alleged statements.  “He went on and on; he was talking and the stuff wasn’t making any sense at all; we were lying, we are evil…”

Hill then claimed that the soldier said, “Take me to 7 West,” to which Hill reportedly responded, “We can’t take you to 7 West; you have to go to the ER first.”

Hill then told the POA that the soldier was currently in the ER, providing no explanation as to why approximately nine hours had elapsed between the soldier’s reported troubling statements and his presence in the ER.

Hill also suggested that the soldier has not been taking his prescribed medication.

“For the past week, the soldier has said that various people have been badgering him, that he’s being put out of the military into retirement.  I am his power of attorney, and I told him all week to have those people call me,” the POA told Hill during the phone call.

“We’re only doing exactly what we are supposed to,” Hill told the POA.  “We’re not trying to force anything on him…” to which the POA raised the matter of the “forced evaluation” of September 1 in which Hill participated.

Of Hill’s commentary, the POA said, “They did exactly what they wanted to do.”

Hill said that the soldier was to be admitted “for a 72-hour hold.”

On Friday, the POA was told by Dr. Deflipeo, the 7 West doctor assigned to the soldier, that the soldier asked him to call his POA but that the soldier was “too upset” to have visitors. Dr. Deflipeo discouraged the family and family minister from coming to visit the soldier. Nevertheless, the POA made plans to travel to Washington, DC on Friday evening.  Following his/her arrival, the POA told The Post & Email, “I am glad I went, because I was able to lay eyes on the situation.  On Thursday night, Sgt. Hill insisted on telling me the story, but when I got there, I saw something entirely different.”

“When we got there, they were on high alert.  We went up to the nurses’ station, and when I gave my name to the charge nurse, Ms. Richstein, she got very nervous.  She didn’t know what to do. All I can say is ‘Thank God for technology, because video and recordings never lie!'” the POA told us.

This story will be continued.

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