Walter Reed Neglect Scandal – Ethical and Legal Implications

The ethical and legal implications of the management issue are also enormous. The ethical issues mainly arise with the neglect by hospital administration noted in various reports (Heltman & Mercer, 2007; Priest & Hull, 2007). The Washington Post for instance outlined various cases of neglect at the medical center such as disengaged clerks, over-worked managers, dilapidated facilities, and unqualified platoons whose ultimate effect was to deny the veterans the rightful standard of care (Priest & Hull, 2007). When viewed in light of selfless service that the veterans have provided for the country in times of active duty, the ethical implications of such a scenario could adversely affect the credibility of the army thus dissuading potential recruits from joining the force (Fassl, 2010). This effect may for instance be noted with reserve personnel being mobilized more frequently into active duty in the years from 1990 as compared to the periods before 1990 (Fassl, 2010). For a country whose military commitment in troublesome regions remains high, the loss of credibility could prove costly.

Legal implications of the Walter Reed issue could also affect the future functioning of the center. Some of these could involve the unpaid disability claims and the lower-than-expected level of care provided to the veterans (Bilmes, 2007). With the back log in payment of claims on approved claims, aspects such as instituting an independent management to oversee the recovery process could face prostrated legal delays (Fassl, 2010). Other aspects that may be subject to litigation include the disapproval or inadequate disability allowances for some of the wounded soldiers (Bilmes, 2007). Such legal aspects could delay the implementation of measures aimed at bettering the systems at Walter Reed (Fassl, 2010). With the financial, ethical and legal implications of the Walter reed issue, various approaches could help improve the future of military health system. Go  to part 4 here.

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