Wednesday, July 02, 2008
ThePilot.com : Soldier Made Famous By Photo Dies in Pinehurst
An Army medic whose image made the nation's front pages in the early days of the war in Iraq died in Pinehurst Saturday.
Joseph Patrick Dwyer, 31, died of an apparent overdose in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. After breaking down the door to Dwyer's home, officers found him surrounded by empty cans of aerosol-gas dusters and prescription pills.
Capt. Floyd Thomas said that police believe Dwyer accidentally overdosed on inhalants and pills. He said he didn't know if an autopsy would be performed.
Dwyer's wife, Matina, said he had sought treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.
"He was a very good and caring person," she said. "He signed up to fight for his country. He was originally from New York. When he saw what happened with the towers (in the 9/11 terrorist attacks), he felt like it was something he had to do."
Dwyer, a private first-class medic, became an image of the Iraq war after a picture showing him carrying an injured Iraqi boy away from a fire fight ran on the front page of several newspapers in 2003, just after the invasion of Iraq by coalition forces.
"He was just never the same when he came back, because of all the things he saw," Matina Dwyer said. "He tried to seek treatment, but it didn't work."
According to a study by the RAND corporation, nearly 300,000 soldiers returning from Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from PTSD or major depressive disorder. Only 53 percent of returning troops who met criteria for PTSD or major depression sought help from a provider: "Military servicemembers report barriers to seeking care that are associated with fears about the negative consequences of using mental health services, because of concerns over confidentiality and career issues....Many felt that seeking mental health care might cause career prospects to suffer or coworkers’ trust to decline."
Of those who had PTSD or depression and also sought treatment, only slightly over half received a minimally adequate treatment.
It's a disgrace. This country needs to start treating warriors with PTSD as what they are: wounded. If only 53 percent of soldiers who'd taken a bullet or a piece of shrapnel had sought medical aid because the rest were afraid they'd be regarded as weak, and only half of the ones who sought aid got even minimally adequate treatment, some damn heads would be rolling, and rightly so.
Posted by JD Rhoades at Wednesday, July 02, 2008