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Secret Email Memo Urging V.A. Doctors to Under-Diagnose PTSD Angers Veterans

posted 10:53 PM EST, Sat June 07, 2008
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Secret Email Memo Urging V.A. Doctors to Under-Diagnose PTSD Angers Veterans © Photo: ob1left

A Federal Judge in San Fransisco has reopened a case against the V.A. after reading an incriminating memo from one of the organization's doctors. A new hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

Veterans say they're not getting the medical treatment they're entitled to, and a group of them even took the federal govt. to court on the issue, in a case the concluded in April in a decision that favored Washington. Now, federal judge Samuel Conti, of the Federal District Court of San Francisco has ordered the case reopened.

It was newly discovered evidence that prompted the plaintiffs group to petition the court for the reopening – evidence that taken at face value seems to condemn the V.A. medical system and its treatment of those that demand medical care. It's a memo from a V.A. Psychologist to other V.A. doctors, warning those doctors against making a diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder, due to the high resultant costs of treatment.

Justice Dept. officials representing the V.A. allege that the memo does not represent Govt. policy, but is rather just a poorly worded email from a single employee. V.A. opponents counter that it's actually a perfect reflection of the treatment reality within the military organization, where the policies of Washington always seem to end up distorted in practice, and in practice, the tens of thousands of men and women who rely on the V.A. for health care aren’t getting what they deserve.

The psychologist who wrote the memo, Norma Perez, has said that she meant only to advise doctors of alternate diagnostic choices, and chose a poor choice of words to do so.

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