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Fired psychiatrist says Marines got shoddy mental health care at Camp Lejeune

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — Marines treated at Camp Lejeune for post-traumatic stress had to undergo therapy for months in temporary trailers where they could hear bomb blasts, machine-gun fire and war cries through the thin walls, according to the troops and their former psychiatrist.

The eight trailers were used for nearly two years until a permanent clinic was completed in September in another location on the base, said a Camp Lejeune medical spokesman, Navy Lt. Mark Jean-Pierre.

The noise from the training exercises "shook me up real bad," said a Marine patient who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media. "My mind couldn't focus on the treatment. I couldn't tell the difference between the combat zone and the noncombat zone."

The allegations became public after the dismissal of Dr. Kernan Manion, a civilian psychiatrist who says he was fired for writing memos to his military superiors complaining of shoddy care of Marines returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress disorder, a condition that can make patients jumpy, fearful of loud noises and prone to flashbacks.

"These guys are saying, 'I'm fried, and I can't get out,' " Manion said in an interview. Referring to the Fort Hood shooting rampage in which an Army psychiatrist who counseled troops with PTSD is accused of killing 13 people earlier this month, he said: "Is there potential for another blowup? Yes, indeed."

Manion was fired in September after working for eight months for Spectrum Healthcare Resources, which has a contract with the military to provide mental health care on the North Carolina base. He said he was told that his dismissal was ordered by the Navy.

Tom Greene, a manager with Spectrum Healthcare Resources, said in an e-mail to the doctor that Manion "did not meet the government's requirements in accordance with the contract." Greene did not respond to e-mails seeking further comment.

The inspector general for the Navy's Bureau of Medicine is reviewing the allegations of inadequate care, a military official said Friday on condition of anonymity.

Fired psychiatrist says Marines got shoddy mental health care at Camp Lejeune 11/20/09 [Last modified: Friday, November 20, 2009 10:57pm]
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