Community News
In Their Own Words: Psychiatrists in New York and Washington Share Their Experiences of the Past Month
Psychiatric News
Volume 36 Number 20 page 9-9

INITIALLY WALTER REED RESPONDED to the news by preparing for a mass-casualty situation, and mental health assets were positioned in the emergency room. . . .The majority of patients were actually admitted to other hospitals because those hospitals happened to be closer to the site of the attack. So we didn't see a lot of people in the emergency room, but we ended up dispatching teams to the various hospitals in the area that received these victims. . . .

Initially, there may have been some distrust or caution because we were from psychiatry, and there is some concern about the stigma attached to talking with anybody in the mental health business, especially in a group of people that may be concerned about their security clearances. But we presented ourselves as being there to support them and that our contact with them did not indicate any pathology on their part....We [also] provided them with an opportunity to speak in a confidential and safe environment. Almost every patient responded to that very positively.

    —John Stasinos, M.D., director of clinical services at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., about six miles from the Pentagon

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