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Mar 17,2008
Army faults medical care at Fort Knox
by UPI

FORT KNOX, Ky. - A military care unit at Fort Knox, Ky., responsible for treating soldiers lacked the resources to do its job, Army investigators said.

The investigation followed the death of an Indiana National Guardsman who died of a drug overdose in September, The Indianapolis Star reported Sunday.

Sgt. Gerald Cassidy of Westfield, Ind., had levels of methadone and antidepressants in his body that repressed his respiratory system.

He was found in his room at the Fort Knox Warrior Transition Unit with more than 600 prescription pills in his room. He reportedly missed three days of required morning and afternoon check-ins.

A sergeant responsible for taking attendance and tracking down anyone not present allegedly ignored Cassidy's absence the first afternoon, missed the next daily check-in with car trouble and the following day marked Cassidy present even though he wasn't, the report said.

The Army investigation concluded that "the unit was not resourced properly to accomplish its mission" and "failed to provide effective leadership," the newspaper reported.

The medical unit also did not have controls to track prescriptions and no established process to communicate prescription reactions with alcohol, the report said.

Although the Army initially called Cassidy's death an isolated incident, last month the Army said it was investigating 11 accidental deaths or suicides in its Warrior Transition Units.

© 2008 United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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