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by Sharon Rondeau

(Oct. 4, 2016) — On Saturday, the power of attorney (POA) for a soldier injured more than three years ago but still on active duty paid a visit to him after he was unexpectedly hospitalized at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) on Thursday.

The episode follows a September 1 “forced evaluation” which resulted in the soldier’s dismissal from the emergency room by the psychiatrist on duty, who made the public comment that ““Whatever political battle they have going on, I’m not losing my career over it.”

As related to The Post & Email previously, prior to his injury in April 2013,  the soldier described highly inappropriate behavior as having taken place among at least one officer, the unit chaplain, and several Army wives in 2012 while all were stationed in South Korea. The soldier has given a video deposition to U.S. Army CID, the criminal investigative division, regarding the sexual assault he reported suffering on April 29, 2013 after he was returned stateside and labeled “delusional” and “schizophrenic.”

In a recent letter, the Army stated that because the alleged assault occurred while the soldier was off-base, it would not be conducting an investigation. However, the Petersburg, VA Bureau of Police, which reportedly has purview over the investigation, has never taken steps to obtain a statement from the soldier.

The soldier alleges that following the assault, he was thrown into moving traffic on a busy street, where he struck his head on a car windshield and incurred the brain injury.  He was hospitalized initially for approximately three weeks at the University of Virginia Medical Center, then transferred to Walter Reed as an active-duty soldier.

The Walter Reed Warrior Transition Brigade (WTB) has been responsible for the soldier’s care since that time nearly three and one-half years ago. While the Army has indicated in writing that the soldier will be discharged because of his disability, the date has been pushed back and the soldier remains in limbo in living quarters supplied by Walter Reed while he is technically still on active duty.

Early on Thursday evening, Sgt. Anthony E. Hill, who is in the soldier’s chain of command, called the POA to say that the soldier was in the emergency room, apparently requesting admission to the psychiatric wing for a 72-hour observation.  In a recorded call to which The Post & Email listened by invitation, Hill claimed that the soldier had been making “off-the-wall” statements and that his behavior over the 24 hours prior had caused one of his assigned CNAs to “quit.”

It was unclear as to why WTB personnel did not immediately notify the primary, secondary, or tertiary powers of attorney for the soldier prior to his seeking treatment at the emergency room.

Following the phone call from Hill, the POA made hasty arrangements to fly to Washington, DC on Friday night to observe the soldier’s condition firsthand.  “My intuition tells me that something sinister happened between Tuesday and Thursday, when Hill alleged that the soldier wanted to go to the ward,” the POA told The Post & Email.  “There are some secrets that Walter Reed Command is trying to cover up. They have tried way too hard to prove that the soldier is delusional. In my prior profession Ive been with individuals who experienced psychotic episodes; none has to make up stories to force evaluations and purposely overmedicate to show that the person is delusional.”

During the day on Friday, a doctor working on 7 West, the psychiatric wing of Walter Reed, advised the POA not to make the trip, claiming that the soldier was indisposed to visitors because of his current condition.  Convinced more than ever that he/she needed to see the situation firsthand, the POA forged ahead with his/her travel plans.

When the POA first arrived at Walter Reed on Saturday afternoon to check on the soldier in the company of friends and associates, the party was escorted into a family waiting room, having been told that they could not visit the soldier in his room.  They then waited 40 minutes for staff to return with further instructions.

Contrary to the doctor’s description of the patient, the POA reported to The Post & Email that upon his/her arrival, he/she was greeted by the soldier’s immediately sitting up straight, “jumping out of bed,” and running and greeting him/her with a hug at the doorway to his room.

The POA and a staff member escorted the soldier to the family waiting room to visit.  The POA noted that oddly, staff members present refused to leave.  When the POA requested privacy, staff members insisted that they needed to remain in the room during the visit. The POA then went out into the hallway with the soldier to achieve some semblance of privacy.

Staff were unable to confirm whether or not they had taken custody of the soldier’s wallet and also told the POA that no printed medical records from his admission were available.  When the POA requested a list of medications being administered to the soldier in the hospital, a nurse hand-wrote and signed it.

The POA further said that the doctor who discouraged him/her from visiting “worked under [Dr. David] Williamson,” the soldier’s former neuropsychiatrist who the family disliked and asked to be removed from his case this past spring. “The goal is to keep the soldier isolated,” the POA said.

Also on Monday, the POA told The Post & Email that Hill had called a close relative of the soldier’s and advised her not to visit because he was “heavily medicated.”  “Just why is the Walter Reed medical staff and the WTB unit holding the soldier hostage?” the POA rhetorically asked.  “This is unheard of when medical staff discourage the family and the minister from visiting and checking on the welfare of a loved one.  Would a high-ranking government official and his family be discriminated against as we have been?”

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