VA Doctor Discouraged Post-Traumatic Diagnoses
Email urged staffers to save disability costs
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2008 9:55 AM CDT
Barack Obama looks at a show of hands for those diagnosed with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) while participating in an MTV roundtable with Iraq war veterans.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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(Newser) – A team leader at a veterans' medical center in Texas sent staffers an email urging them to avoid diagnosing post-traumatic stress disorder, the Washington Post reports. "Given that we are having more and more compensation-seeking veterans, I'd like to suggest that you refrain from giving a diagnosis of PTSD straight out," wrote the psychologist, suggesting a milder condition be diagnosed instead.

A Veterans Administration spokesman insisted the email did not reflect government policy. Hundreds of thousands of troops have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan mentally scarred, and their compensation costs will be in the billions. "Many veterans believe that the government doesn't want to pay out the disability that comes along with a PTSD diagnosis," said the head of a veterans group. "This revelation will not allay their concerns."