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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Get out of Jail Free Card

Should soldiers carry cards that say their medical diagnosis such as PTSD/OSI or even other medical conditions?
Will this help when a police pulls over a former soldier sailor or airman?  Will they act with compassion or will it make things worse with people using the card as a get out of jail free card?

Many soldiers that have read of this proposal don't seem to like the idea....
When I do speeches for Police, firefighters, or EMT I always try and push the idea that they should ask of foriegn service and the next question can be... " when did you get back?"

This can really help and allow the police and such to begin to understand that these issues are real and need to be addressed.

After I got out of my first tour where I drove like a maniac and it was hard to slow down and follow the Cdn rules of the road.  If a policeman had pulled me over during that time it may have helped to have some recognition that just a week earlier I was driving in fear of my life and the people in my vehicle.

Compassion from police and such goes along way to realizing that PTSD/OSI affects people in a different way and also that the reason for a persons actions may not be PTSD/OSI but just hypervigilance by bringing the war home...

Education about PTSD may be the better route and this is also one reason why i support the goals of the TEMA Conter Memorial Trust that helps with PTSD/ OSI in Police, Firefighters, EMT and the Military.

HIS HOPE: James Norchi, 62, a Navy...
HIS HOPE: James Norchi, 62, a Navy veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, says driver’s licenses should indicate if a veteran suffers from the illness.
Veterans and active members of the armed forces diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder will be able to alert everyone to their troubles on their driver’s license if a newly proposed law passes muster on Beacon Hill.
The bill filed by state Sen. Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield) at the urging of James Norchi, a Navy veteran of the Vietnam War, mirrors a first-of-its-kind law passed in Georgia last summer over the fervid objections of veterans groups concerned they’d be targeted as crazy by misinformed cops, airport security and even barkeeps who card them.
To date, only five veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder in the Peach State have asked for the PTSD designation, according to the Georgia Department of Driver Services.
But Downing said he believes PTSD “is a problem, it’s safe to say, that’s only growing. We’re looking out for the health and well-being of those who, quite frankly, looked out for ours.”
The Northampton VA Medical Center last year found Norchi, 62, a yeoman third class who said he labored three months in the engine room of the USS Springfield, suffered from panic attacks almost daily and “one of the highest” anxiety levels they’d seen, according to an examiner’s report.
“I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in six years,” Norchi told the Herald. “I go out on the porch and scream because (I think) my arms are on fire. People have to start to understand the consequences of going to war. I just think this could be one vet’s chance to not do something stupid, like run (from trouble) or tell a police officer to get a flashlight out of his face.”
Kevin and Joyce Lucey of Belchertown buried their only son in 2004 after Marine Reserve Lance Cpl. Jeffrey Lucey, 23, returned from the Iraq war with PTSD and hanged himself. Though the heartsick parents are now tireless defenders of military PTSD sufferers, Jeffrey’s haunting words give his father pause about stamping the illness on a driver’s license.
“Jeff knew that he was in trouble, but he was terrified to go to the VA and he absolutely didn’t want to address it with his commanders because of the stigma,” Lucey said. “He said he was afraid he’d be destroying any chance he had for a life.”
Lucey would much rather see the VA issue PTSD patients wallet cards they could present when in crisis. “To us, when people are ignorant, it breeds fear, and then fear breeds discrimination,” he said. “We have to start taking care of our troops.”

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