Monday, January 21, 2013

Former combat nurse in Vietnam, calls attention to PTSD

Former combat nurse calls attention to PTSD
JANUARY 21, 2013 By Nicole Shine
Garden Grove Journal

The suicide hotline at the Department of Veterans Affairs logs 10,000 calls a month. And the tally of suicides by active-duty military reached 349 in 2012, surpassing the number of troops killed in combat.

“There is a mental health problem among our vets,” Eileen Moore, a former combat nurse in Vietnam, said Thursday night.

Moore, now an appellate court judge, spoke to benefit the Vietnam War Museum of America Foundation, an effort to bring a Vietnam War Museum to Garden Grove.

Veterans’ suicides have made news of late, Moore noted, but the damage caused by war isn’t new. Each generation simply gives it a different name.

“In World War I it was called shell shock and in World War II doctors called it battle fatigue,” Moore explained. “After Vietnam, we called it post traumatic stress disorder, PTSD. Today many soldiers and vets don’t want to be labeled with something associated with a disorder, so they call it PTS.”

Although the name has changed, the problem has not, Moore said before a crowd that included many veterans.

She spoke of the homeless vets who now wander the streets, of vets behind bars, and of one Marine in particular whose murder conviction was upheld in her courtroom.

Suffering from untreated PTSD, “he drove under the influence of alcohol and severely injured a woman and killed her husband just a few miles from where we are now,” Moore said.
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