U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-8) today released the following statement in reaction to the recent reports that hundreds of American soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder were misdiagnosed, and therefore denied benefits that would allow them to receive needed treatment for recovery.
"The reports of hundreds of misdiagnosed soldiers with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder is the latest evidence of mistreatment of those who bravely wore the uniform in service of their country," said Pascrell, co-chair of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force who has successfully championed legislation through Congress to better protect veterans from the effects of traumatic brain injuries sustained in combat.
"This is why I have been working to correct these gross lapses in the treatment of our soldiers. Caring for wounded veterans is not some ceremonial act of gratitude. It's what we ought to be doing as part of the contract the United States makes with every man and woman who has ever enlisted in the military services. Whether we are talking about a solider with a concussion from an IED explosion or a soldier who develops PTSD during a deployment, we must stand by our veterans. It is part of my job to make sure the United States keeps the promises it made to our soldiers."
Rep. Pascrell has been a consistent watchdog over the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Army in how both entities treat brain injuries and mental disorders sustained by soldiers.
In May, Rep. Pascrell succeeded in having an amendment added to the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act to make sure the Pentagon properly screens soldiers for traumatic brain injury. The amendment is necessary because even though the Pentagon had previously authorized sophisticated computerized testing of soldiers before deployment, it did not authorize the same testing for the soldiers when they returned home. The means that the military is not adequately tracking changes to a soldier's cognitive abilities, post-combat.