PTSD, TBI, and OTH Discharges: A Case Study of a Young Service Member

At the April 2016 conference, “Mission Critical Veterans Health Summit: Addressing the Invisible Wounds of Our Nation’s Veterans,” hosted by the Gitenstein Institute for Health Law and Policy (“Gitenstein Institute”) at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University, one of the three panel discussions was entitled “Invisible Wounds: Case Study of PTSD from Several Perspectives.” As a panelist of that discussion, the author of this Article was tasked with addressing the legal and equity issues related to a young service member’s Other Than Honorable (“OTH”) discharge. Questions that the author identifies from the case study—informed by her experience in representing veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”) and traumatic brain injury (“TBI”) at the Lewis B. Puller, Jr. Veterans Benefits Clinic (“Puller Clinic”) at William and Mary Law School—include whether Mr. Doe’s discharge status was fair; whether he should have had mandatory screenings for mental health issues during service or during his transition period out of service; and whether Mr. Doe can gain access to health care despite his OTH discharge and, if so, how.

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