I received this missive from LawBob. It appears to be a 2006 headline but I find it intriguing for its message. Nothing has changed in the Army’s or the vA’s modus operandi.
Dr. Sally’s New Kidney
By Hugh Cox
from The New Hampshire Gazette Vol 250, No 15,
April 21, 2006
[The author of the following piece, Hugh D. Cox, is a Greenville, NC attorney “Proudly Representing the Disabled for Veteran’s Benefits, Social Security and Workmen’s Compensation.” He served in Vietnam in 1968. Mr. Cox forwarded the item to us under the suggested heading, “Second Thoughts about Dr. Sally Satel’s Personal Kidney Transplant.”-The Ed.]
On November 22, 2005, Dr. Sally Satel, M.D., issued a deeply personal account of her need of a kidney transplant because of the “no-fault” failure of her own kidneys. She wanted a normal life rather than dialysis due to convenience and she was not critical of any potential donor. Her writing was very moving. All can empathize with her and wish her a speedy recovery now that she has a new kidney.
But this Dr. Satel is the same anti-veteran physician on the payroll of the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI) who openly criticized military veterans making claims for disabling PTSD after they were assigned to duties in Iraq, Afghanistan and past wars. Satel accused veterans of using “an underground network [that] advises veterans where to go for the best chance of being declared disabled.”
Dr. Satel believes that PTSD is not a medical diagnosis of any social consequence. Those who seek VA benefits for PTSD were recently labeled by Dr. Satel in a New York Times op-ed of March 1, 2006 as, “[b]ut it’s also very likely that some of the veteran baby boomers who have filed claims in recent years did so not out of medical need but out of a desire for financial security in their retirement years.”
In the same op-ed, Dr. Satel stated, “it is often hard to know which applicants can be helped with short-term psychiatric care, which are seeking a free ride and which are truly deserving of the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder and thus long-term care and payments of up to $2,300 a month for life.”
Dr. Satel appears to view many disabled veterans as “welfare queens” seeking a “free ride” and unjustified “financial security”.
There is more disturbing information about Dr. Satel to consider.
Dr. Satel works for the AEI, and appears to be the Bush administration’s “go-to” physician for denial and reduction of rightful health care and veteran benefits.
Satel is also a “go-to” physician for the tobacco industry. She has stated that second hand smoke is not as harmful as most medical experts think.
Likewise, Satel is also the “go-to” physician for the silicone gel-filled breast implants industry. She assures women that breast implants are quite safe.
Interestingly, breast implants are linked to kidney failure.
Her credibility as an expert was once demolished in a reported court case. In the case of Farmer v. Ramsay, 159 F.Supp.2d 873, D.Md.  (the case is a reverse racial discrimination case seeking to allow white applicants into medical school over minority student applicants with lesser MCAT scores. Satel was expert for the white applicant), the court found:
“The Defendants have filed a motion to strike Dr. Satel’s report on the grounds that it lacks the necessary indicia of reliability required under FRE 702. The Court agrees and will, by separate order, grant the motion. Satel offers little more than her personal opinion of Farmer’s application and the weight that … should have [been] placed on his MCAT scores. Satel has no familiarity with [the school]; she lacks an extensive background in medical school admissions; she reviewed a total of only five applications; her work has not been subjected to any peer review; and her opinions are not based on a methodology that can be tested. Accordingly, her views lack the indicia of reliability required … ”
The Court found that Dr. Satel’s credibility and so-called expertise was so unreliable that her findings had to be stricken by law without waiting for opposing evidence or cross-examination. Dr. Satel appears to be a “mouthpiece” for sale to any neoconservative cause.
Based on Dr. Satel’s current lobbying and speculation, the VA now places great emphasis on “combat” exposure supported by almost non-existent documents because VA officials know that it is a convenient method to deny or lower PTSD benefits. If there is no confirmed documentary combat stressor-the veteran is denied the claim for PTSD. As a civilian, Dr. Satel apparently believes that military clerks are taking detailed notes on wi-fi computers right there on the battlefield during a firefight or IED explosion.
Dr. Satel advanced that “civilian” theory in her 2006 New York Times op-ed: “As the department tries to distinguish among these groups, verification of exposure to trauma is vital. The inspector general’s office found that for one-quarter of Vietnam veterans claiming post-traumatic stress, the department could not confirm any incidents of traumatic stress. A study in a leading psychiatric journal last year could not verify such history in 59 percent. True, military personnel records are not perfect-a cook who endured a terrifying rocket attack on an airbase at which he was stationed may be unable to produce documentation of it. However, such records could indeed disprove the fabrications of a cook who claimed he was traumatized by a firefight on infantry patrol.”
Now Dr. Satel believes that if there is no confirmed documentary combat stressor-the veteran should be denied benefits. The infantry battalion cook who holds a dying fellow soldier killed by a suicide bomber in a Baghdad mess hall and then must put the body in a body bag receives no “sympathy” from Dr. Satel.
Dr. Satel’s most recent malice against disabled veterans, on March 1, occurred since she received her kidney.
Perhaps it is time for Dr. Satel to walk in a veteran’s boots. Had Dr. Satel been subjected to the kind of hostile inquiry she believes ought to be used in the VA claims process, she might never have received a kidney transplant. Her own positions could subject her to the following insulting and outrageous questions from the VA suggested by her own anti-veteran positions:
“Dr. Satel, why do you say your kidneys ‘retired early’ and ‘mysteriously’? Have you ever used controlled substances or abused alcohol or had breast implants? Do you have a tattoo? Why should we give you a ‘free’ kidney if you abuse your body? We need documentary proof that you did not engage in reckless behavior causing your kidney failure.”
“Dr. Satel, do you want us to give you a free kidney for your convenience? Thousands of people in the U.S. are waiting for kidney transplants. Why should you break in line in front of them? Your kidney ‘problem’ did not seem to halt your prolific writing and speaking engagements, did it? Where is the financial ‘inconvenience’?”
“Dr. Satel, did anyone on your behalf use any form of ‘influence’ to obtain your kidney match so soon? Did you use an underground network to advise you on the best chance of finding a kidney?”
“Dr. Satel, Haven’t you made use of a system that has coalesced around the idea that deprivation of convenience is the root of all devastation and victimization. You deserve dialysis treatment if it can help, but rarely should long-term or expensive payments or gratuities be justified. Don’t you agree?”
Fortunately, this kind of interrogation will never take place for Dr. Satel and all can wish her a speedy recovery.
One of the most insidious attacks on our military troops and our combat veterans is from Dr. Satel, who apparently believes that combat trauma must be proven with almost non-existent documentary evidence at the expense of battlefield common sense and traditional medicine. The concept that combat PTSD is of little consequence or is quickly and easily cured by quick medical intervention, by return to combat, or by a good hard day’s work at Wal-Mart borders on treason. That is evident every day at military recruiting offices when potential recruits reject military service when they sense that neoconservatives might exploit and abandon them. Our brave troops in Iraq and Afghanistan deserve the protections of a solemn and sacred contract that our nation will care for “him who shall have borne the battle and his widow, and his orphan.”
Hugh D. Cox, Greenville, N.C.
Wowser, huh? I thought Neanderthal thinking went out of style on mental health. Even more so with the field increasingly feminized. You notice the Army seemed to be astounded that there could be an assembly line diagnosis mill similar to the way we went through shot lines in Basic.
My inside fly on the wall down at Madigan tells me they want eleven souls a day diagnosed up or down per day. Nurse Beth says more like 3 if you’re lucky and have good service military records, not medical. This allows them to separate the wheat from the welfare queens.