New Orleans VA Suppressed TBI Diagnoses, Destroying Hundreds of Veterans Lives


NEW ORLEANS – Army Sergeant Daniel Murphy did five decorated combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, specializing in detonating battlefield explosives. Honorably discharged in 2013, Murphy suffered physically and psychologically. He had the classic symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder—insomnia, anxiety, and a feeling that the enemy was lurking around every corner.

His brother, Jim Murphy, told CBS News there were also signs of brain damage, like memory loss.

“We’d have stories together as children, and he would misconstrue the stories,” Jim Murphy told CBS News chief investigative correspondent Jim Axelrod. “We could sense something was wrong. He knew something was wrong with himself.”

Two VA sources confirm Murphy initially tested positive for a traumatic brain injury, or TBI, when he visited the New Orleans VA in June 2017. He told doctors he had been previously diagnosed with a TBI on active duty, when his Humvee hit an IED. Nevertheless, he did not receive a final TBI diagnosis or TBI treatment. Two months later, he took his own life. He was 32 years old.

“The last thing that my brother texted me was, ‘hope to talk to you later,'” said Jim Murphy, who blames the VA for his brother’s death. “I miss him.”

Dan Murphy’s story haunts Dr. Frederic Sautter who retired last month as the head of the family mental health program at the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Healthcare System, also known as the New Orleans VA. Sautter said Murphy was one of hundreds of Iraq and Afghanistan vets from 2009 to 2019 who were not properly assessed for a traumatic brain injury in New Orleans.

“These are people who need to be identified,” Sautter told Axelrod. “They need to be brought into the VA and evaluated.”  read more..

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