Walter Reed Scandal Prompts Sweeping Changes in Military Medical Care - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Walter Reed Scandal Prompts Sweeping Changes in Military Medical Care

Tony Wood Tony Wood

By Leland Kim

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS (KHNL) -- Accusations of neglect at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C., rocked the military's medical establishment six months ago.

While Tripler Army Medical Center on Oahu was not implicated in the scandal, it ushered in an era of sweeping changes throughout the military. A new program is specifically designed to heal wounded soldiers.

Tony Wood is a soldier, originally from a small town in Georgia.

"I wanted to get out," said Wood, a military police sergeant at Schofield Barracks. '"I wanted to see the world. I wanted to do more."

The Army gave him that opportunity. Right out of military police school, he and his unit shipped out to Iraq. During a routine patrol, his truck got hit by three roadside bombs.

"It immediately killed my gunner and my driver," said Wood. "They were gone. The last thing I remember seeing is driver's door and the rear passenger door just kind of flapping in the breeze."

A piece of shrapnel went through his left arm.

"But it hit here, came in and basically ricocheted across, hit everything in here, diaphragm, lungs, liver, stomach, spleen, intestines. everything but my heart," he said.

Wood was taken to Walter Reed, where he was in a coma for two months. His road to recovery was long and painful, but eventually, he learned to walk again.

"It was the great," said Wood. "Great doctors we had. I mean, I had outstanding doctors."

Now Wood continues his care at Tripler Army Medical Center's "Warrior Transition Unit," a new program taking a comprehensive approach to care for wounded soldiers.

"The Walter Reed thing was really a wake up call to allow the Army leadership to say, what are we doing for our warriors?" said Col. Derick Ziegler, Tripler's chief of staff.

Wood and other patients said they're well taken care of at the unit.

"It's outstanding," said Wood. "It's not a public relations thing. It's truly been a wonderful experience."

The Army doing some damage control and helping soldiers in the process.

Tripler plans to hire more doctors and other medical staff for the "Warrior Transition Unit." They're also adding a comprehensive physical therapy unit, set to open by the end of the year.

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