Friday, November 13, 2009

People are Talking About Hasan's Patients

Alleged Army gunman's former patients need follow-up care, observers say

If your doctor went on a killing spree, you might question the kind of care he provided, especially if he was ministering to your mental health. Thus, after law enforcement officials took Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan into custody at Fort Hood, Texas, last Thursday after he allegedly shot dozens of fellow soldiers and civilians, killing 13, service medical personnel should have started contacting patients formerly treated by the doctor, experts say.

"First, I'd get a list of all the patients he'd ever treated and get in contact with them," said Dr. Thomas P. Lowry, a psychiatrist who served two years as a doctor in the Air Force and then held the top psychiatry positions at four hospitals before retiring in 1999. It's important to know how the doctor's former patients perceived him and understand the care they received, he said.

Dr. Jonathan Shay, who spent 20 years as a Veterans Affairs Department psychiatrist specializing in the treatment of combat trauma before retiring last year, said some of Hasan's former patients might worry that the stories they shared in therapy sessions could have contributed to the doctor's state of mind, or even feel some responsibility for the killings.

Good point, I'd also be asking what impact Hasan had with his patients...

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