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11.21.2009

"i'm fried and i can't get out"

How the US supports its troops.
Marines treated at Camp Lejeune for post-traumatic stress had to undergo therapy for months in temporary trailers where they could hear bomb blasts, machine-gun fire and war cries through the thin walls, according to servicemen and their former psychiatrist.

The eight trailers were used for nearly two years, until a permanent clinic was completed in September in another location on the base, said a Camp Lejeune medical spokesman, Navy Lt. Mark Jean-Pierre.

The noise from training exercises "shook me up real bad. I couldn't take it. I almost ran out of there a couple of times," said a Marine patient who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to the media. "My mind couldn't focus on the treatment. I couldn't tell the difference between the combat zone and the non-combat zone."

The allegations became public after the dismissal of Dr. Kernan Manion, a civilian psychiatrist who says he was fired for writing memos to his military superiors complaining of shoddy care of Marines returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, a condition that can make patients jumpy, fearful of loud noises and prone to flashbacks.

"These guys are saying, 'I'm fried and I can't get out,'" Manion said in an interview. Referring to the Fort Hood shooting rampage in which an Army psychiatrist who counseled PTSD victims allegedly killed 13 people earlier this month, he said: "Is there potential for another blowup? Yes, indeed."

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