I read today of a very courageous veteran with a very important message. Daniel Smith is one of the youngest recipients of the George Medal. He is calling for better support for those who leave the Armed Forces with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”).
Daniel, a medically trained Fusilier, saw combat in Iraq. In 2005 a vehicle patrol he was part of was hit twice in one week by Improvised Explosive Devices. Daniel evacuated casualties from the burning chaos without regard to his own safety and proceeded to treat them. Daniel said of the incidents, “I took a lot of guilt because obviously I thought I did my best at the time when I was treating them. I didn’t really think they would die, I just thought they would be injured or go back home, but they passed away and obviously that was a big shock to us and I didn’t know how to take that”.
Daniel now suffers from PTSD. He was later medically discharged from the Army and Daniel’s father says there has been no follow up care provided by the NHS. Daniel feels that he has been cast aside.
Daniel’s marriage has failed and he is finding it difficult to get work. He has to remove himself from his family and friends at times; he sleeps in his car in order to control his anger management issues. His family have been trying tirelessly to help him get the treatment he needs and deserves.
Sadly, Daniel’s story is not uncommon. I have read of many more former members of our Armed Forces who suffer from PTSD, but who have not received adequate care. This has resulted in the prolonging and worsening of their symptoms.
PTSD is an invisible injury, but this does not mean it should go undetected or untreated.
Henrietta Hughes, In House Counsel, Hilary Meredith Solicitors
With thanks also to Grant Evatt, Partner, Hilary Meredith Solicitors