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30 April 2004


I just happened upon this piece in Fried Green al-Qaedas, and I am so impressed that I need to do a long excerpt:
"I worked the locked wards, which meant that all of my patients were quite insane, at least upon admission. The patients didn't call you Doc, and they weren't happy to see you. Many would gladly kill you given half a chance. Nothing personal, you understand, but you might resemble a VC, and even if you didn't, you definitely had them locked up and under control. There was a definite POW mentality.
"You had to be raving mad to get into the hospital if you were coming from Vietnam; nobody got a ride home for an anxiety attack. And you're not going to get many depressives, either. They make such easy targets."
. . .
"At NRMC in Philadelphia, most of our patients were marines who had made a triumphant trip home, only to find they could no longer cope with the very concept of home anymore. When you're busy - in danger - on guard - on fire, your mind is preoccupied with survival. You're only one tiny step down on Maslow's sorry little pyramid than your peers. Don't matter. It probably doesn't even apply. But it isn't even until you can begin to think without panic. {pause} {if then}, that you might have time to safely think about things that unravel.
{things unravel}
"In Iraq, we are still in the early days, and the intensity is starting to crank up. April has been the deadliest month yet, and morale wavers as weeks turn to months turn to years. Psychosis is still seeding."
. . .
"And many of them were headed to the Veterans Hospitals, out of sight, because we only had so much time; the patients kept coming. The VA couldn't handle the hard core psychotics, which was about all we would have left after a three week span, so these were destined to be the droolers, either drugged into oblivion, or occasionally, erased via electro shock 'therapy'.
"Then they could be safely shipped to the VA, where after a respectable number of months they would be discharged and released, most of them moving on to a life upon the city streets, where you can see them today."
Read all of Triage II

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