PTSD

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The attorney for a Pulse first responder blames the City of Orlando and Orlando Police Department for exacerbating the officer’s anxiety, preventing him from returning to work.

First responders run towards crashes, emergencies and catastrophes, not away from them. And for some, their experiences are leading to post traumatic stress disorder. But in Florida, first responders who develop PTSD on the job don’t get compensated, unless they have a physical injury as well. Now there are efforts at the statehouse to change that. A note to listeners, the following story includes frank discussion of death and suicide.

City of Orlando Police Department

Call it a mixed day for advocates of expanding treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder in first responders.

In Tallahassee, a bill to expand workers’ compensation benefits to first responders with PTSD cleared its first committee Tuesday. But the city of Eatonville could vote tonight to fire Omar Delgado, a police officer who developed PTSD responding to the Pulse nightclub shooting.

A bill to expand workers’ compensation coverage to first responders with post-traumatic stress disorder is getting a hearing Tuesday in Tallahassee. The Senate’s banking and insurance committee will take up one of two bills filed. Florida first responders can get medical benefits for PTSD but aren’t eligible for other benefits like lost wages.

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An Orlando fire fighter is hitting back after being fired last week.

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The Orlando Police Pension Board voted to give officer Gerry Realin a disability pension.

Realin was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after cleaning up the bodies in Pulse nightclub last year. WMFE Health Reporter Abe Aboraya spoke with All Things Considered Host Crystal Chavez.

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An Orlando police officer with post-traumatic stress disorder from the Pulse nightclub shooting gets his last paycheck today.

A Pulse first responder will receive his final paycheck next Thursday after post-traumatic stress disorder has left him out of work for about a year.

Gerry Realin says he wishes he had never become a police officer.

Realin, 37, was part of the hazmat team that responded to the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando on June 12, 2016. He spent four hours taking care of the dead inside the club. Now, triggers like a Sharpie marker or a white sheet yank him out of the moment and back to the nightclub, where they used Sharpies to list the victims that night and white sheets to cover them.

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After the Pulse nightclub shooting, mental health organizations mobilized to provide counseling.

The Mental Health Association of Central Florida used a grant to create a new program to help people affected by the shooting with free mental health counseling. Now, they’re looking for funding to keep operating. 

A bill to increase mental health funding for law enforcement officers has passed the U.S. Senate.

WMFE

Gerry Realin wishes he had never become a police officer.

Realin was part of the Hazmat team that responded to the Pulse night club shooting in Orlando. He spent four hours taking care of the dead inside the club. Now, triggers like a marker or a white sheet yank him out of the moment and back to Pulse.

A Healthy Escape From Jail

May 10, 2017

This is a warm, welcoming place. There are big windows that let the sunshine flood in—windows hung with gauzy curtains, prayer flags, and embroidery hoops.

The room is shabby chic, almost like a church basement or a community center. Someplace you’d go to talk and laugh and re-connect with people in your life. 

Funding for a clinic to treat post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans and Pulse first responders has been cut from Florida’s budget.

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U.S. Representative Val Demings is proposing a bill that would make grant money available to help police departments treat first responders with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Firefighters are three times more likely to die from suicide than to die in the line of duty, according to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.

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With just 25 days left in the legislative session this year, a bill to give workers’ compensation coverage to first responders with post-traumatic stress disorder has stalled.

The U.S. military is trying to figure out whether certain heavy weapons are putting U.S. troops in danger.

The concern centers on the possibility of brain injuries from shoulder-fired weapons like the Carl Gustaf, a recoilless rifle that resembles a bazooka and is powerful enough to blow up a tank.

The $577.9 billion national defense bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this week includes a provision for money that would go to a University of Central Florida clinic that treats veterans and first responders for post-traumatic stress disorder.

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An Orlando police officer diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after the Pulse shooting has been ordered back to work.

Democratic State Senator Victor Torres filed a bill Tuesday to allow first responders to get worker’s compensation coverage for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Matthew Peddie, WMFE

First responders who get post-traumatic stress disorder on the job soon may be eligible for more workers compensation benefits.

A new study will test an unusual approach to treating symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder: injecting a local anesthetic into nerve tissue in the neck.

The suicide of a firefighter who had a reputation for being a brave and positive force in his Florida community last month has shined a light on post-traumatic stress disorder in his profession.

Jeffrey Sargent enlisted in the U.S. Army shortly after graduating from high school in 1999. He ended up serving 12 years, including two tours of duty during Operation Iraqi Freedom. During that time, he received a Bronze Star, but also lost several members of his unit, including his platoon leader.

Over a decade into his military career, during a promotion ceremony to Sgt. First Class, he suffered his first panic attack. It was the initial sign of post-traumatic stress disorder.

There's growing evidence that a physical injury to the brain can make people susceptible to post-traumatic stress disorder.

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  Gerry Realin spent four hours with the dead inside of Pulse Night Club.

He remembers the blood. The smell. The scene was so bad, the eight-member Hazmat team wouldn’t let any other officers help them remove the bodies. That way fewer people had to witness what they saw.

This week is Perinatal Mental Health Awareness Week. Officials want to make people more aware of one of the top health complications surrounding pregnancy.

Stacy Bannerman didn't recognize her husband after he returned from his second tour in Iraq.

"The man I had married was not the man that came back from war," she says.

Bannerman's husband, a former National Guardsman, had been in combat and been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. He behaved in ways she had never expected, and one day, he tried to strangle her.

"I had been with this man for 11 years at that point, and there had never been anything like this before," Bannerman said. "I was so furious and so afraid."

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