Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Follow up on Vet benefits debate





Everybody needs a job.  But, most jobs allow you to end the day with a clear conscience.  Dr. Sally Satel's job is not one of those.

In today's front page story in the Washington Post on the politics and money of PTSD (story here... http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/26/AR2005122600792.html ) Dr. Satel, once again, demeans veterans with her comments about PTSD.

Quote:  Psychiatrist Sally Satel, who is affiliated with the conservative American Enterprise Institute, said an underground network advises veterans where to go for the best chance of being declared disabled. The institute organized a recent meeting to discuss PTSD among veterans. 

An "underground network" of veterans?  Dr. Satel's conspiracy theories don't hold water.

Earlier this year I reported on an article written by Dr. Satel that also appeared in the Washington Post.  (Article here... http://www.registerguard.com/news/2005/08/21/b1.ed.col.mental.0821.p1.php?section=opinion )  In this article, Dr. Satel wrote that mental illness is diagnosed too often and went to great lengths to paint mental illnesses, including PTSD, as normal.

Quote:  Most of us - and most veterans - will never have a serious mental illness. Will we have periods of intense sadness, frustration, anxiety and insecurity? Sure. Not because we are ill, but because we are human. And being human is not a condition in need of a cure.

This is trying to sell the concept of "lesser need"...the problem is not so bad, therefore, there is a "lesser need" for treatment and compensation.  Lots of money is being spent and lots of ink is being spilled to sell "lesser need" and convince the public that the issue of PTSD in veterans is not important.

Dr. Satel is a "hired gun" for the ultra-conservative American Enterprise Institute.  She writes what she is told, whether it is scientifically valid or not.

But, Dr. Satel just doesn't demean veterans and belittle PTSD.  She has had a long career as a "hired gun," including a stint for the tobacco industry.

Below is from an email I received this morning.  Thanks to the writer for the great research...


Dr. Satel is apparently close to Vice President and Ms. Cheney, works for the AEI, and appears to be the administration's "go-to" physician for reduction of health care and benefits.

In spite of her approximately 5 years at a VA hospital in Connecticut in the early 90's, there is no CAVC case mentioning her.

In the case of Farmer v. Ramsay, 159 F.Supp.2d 873, D.Md.,2001, the court found (the case is a reverse racial discrimination case seeking to allow white applicant into medical school over minority student applicants with lesser MCAT scores. Satel was expert for the white applicant):

"The Defendants have filed a motion to strike Dr. Satel's report on the grounds that it lacks the necessary indicia of reliability required under FRE 702. The Court agrees and will, by separate order, grant the motion. Satel offers little more than her personal opinion of Farmer's application and the weight that UMSM should have placed on his MCAT scores.
Satel has no familiarity with UMSM; she lacks an extensive background in medical school admissions; she reviewed a total of only five applications; her work has not been subjected to any peer review; and her opinions are not based on a methodology that can be tested. Accordingly, her views lack the indicia of reliability required under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharms., Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 113 S.Ct. 2786, 125 L.Ed.2d 469 (1993). See Samuel v. Ford Motor Co., 96 F.Supp.2d 491, 493 (D.Md.2000).

Even if Dr. Satel's report were admissible, the Court could not accord it much, if any, weight. As stated, the report consists entirely of Satel's personal evaluation of the applications. A plaintiff's (or his expert's) personal evaluation of his own qualifications is, however, irrelevant. Courts have repeatedly held that such subjective personal judgments do not raise a genuine issue of material fact. See Smith v. Flax, 618 F.2d 1062, 1067 (4th Cir.1980); Bradley v. Harcourt, Brace and Co., 104 F.3d 267, 270 (9th Cir.1996); Williams v. Cerberonics, Inc., 871 F.2d 452, 456 (4th Cir.1989). Applications of Minorities Not Interviewed".

The Court found that Dr. Satel’s credibility and so called expertise was so unreliable that her findings had to be stricken by law without waiting for cross-examination. Dr. Satel appears to be a “mouthpiece” for sale to any neoconservative cause. Rubbing her nose in this case may diminish her power in her fight against veterans.

Satel is also a "go-to" physician for the tobacco industry. See: http://main.uab.edu/smokersonly/show.asp?durki=67468&site=3187&return=63615

Likewise, Satel is also the "go-to" physician for the silicone gel-filled breast implants industry. See: http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/satel200504121402.asp

There are even some people besides me who question Dr. Satel's motives. See: http://www.mediatransparency.org/personprofile.php?personID=96

See also: http://www.mindfreedom.org/mindfreedom/bush_satel.shtml and http://www.mindfreedom.org/pdf/satel.pdf

Dr. Satel appears to be another "Jeff Gannon" spin, hype and eyewash agent for the administration.

These Satel efforts are heavily financed and closely coordinated to coincide with the coming reduction of veteran's psychiatric benefits. We saw a similar tactic in 1980 when the Reagan administration reduced the number of vets on TDIU from 120,000 to 60,000.



Larry Scott

(go back to VA Watchdog dot Org Home Page)

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