The memoirs of a military psychiatrist are chronicled in Solo With Giants revealing the forces of corruption at the antiquated Department of Veterans Affairs before its fragile infrastructure was finally exposed by the scandal of 2014.The setting ofMoreThe memoirs of a military psychiatrist are chronicled in Solo With Giants revealing the forces of corruption at the antiquated Department of Veterans Affairs before its fragile infrastructure was finally exposed by the scandal of 2014.The setting of this accounting rivals that of One Flew Over The Coo Coo’s Nest where a hospital unit composed of Vietnam combat veterans gathered to become the first such program dedicated to the treatment of PTSD.From the experiences of this often irreverent psychiatrist during the Vietnam War in 1968 and later in 2008 the reader becomes immersed to bare witness to the detailed traumatic experiences and difficulties in the aftermath of war as expressed in the context of individual treatment modalities.
The author critiques his actual interviews to offer a sampling of differences and uncanny likenesses between returning combat veterans from Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He shares his thoughts and interview techniques while demonstrating the difficulty in overcoming resistances and defense mechanisms to achieve a catharsis, adaptation, and healing.Collateral issues complicated PTSD as Agent Orange and HIV/AIDS became the focus of therapy sessions.
The author ventured into the world of virology trying to understand HIV in the context of PTSD.When the Veterans Administration became a cabinet level department funding for staffing and programs was promised. As the PTSD program progressed the veterans became more outspoken and relevant. They complained that they never had treatment for PTSD in the past and began describing how they were neglected and abused by hospital staff members.
The hospital administration was furious at these allegations.In retaliation, a compassionate and dedicated Registered Nurse was summarily removed from the PTSD program. This nurse had waged a campaign as a whistle- blower for many years trying to expose the iniquities in a Veterans Administration system that was rife with corruption and failure to adhere to the rule of law.
The hospital’s administration also threatened that anticipated government funding would be withheld and staffing would be cut back.There was no psychological exit strategy from war and for most of these combat veterans it was their last hope. Aided by the psychiatrist the veterans protested the retaliatory removal of the key staff nurse.
The leader of the Patient Government Organization took the ward of 37 patients to march in a strike at the entrance of the VAMC, Lyons, New Jersey over one October weekend. The local media superficially covered the story of the veterans’ plight but the repercussions of that strike were disastrous for all. The hospital administration denied, covered up, and was accountable to no one for any wrongdoing. The media with its myopia and failed objectivity went along with the system. Kangaroo courts ruled the day as the hospital administration prevailed to silence whistle-blowers, protesting veterans and their beloved doctor.The human interest, often hilarious, insightful, captivating, and yet tragic events are told by irreverent characters that dare to enter the inner sanctum at the Veterans Administration.
The hypocritical nature of the righteous hospital administrators becomes painfully obvious when perjury is discovered at the Disciplinary Appeals Board hearing. It was, however, a pyrrhic victory for one nurse who would never get to bring her testimony to a congressional hearing because the government conflates and manipulates the evidence in their Failure Masquerading as Success.The author has maintained that PTSD was not and is not a disorder!