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Sunday, April 14
The Indiana Daily Student

Family questions quality of military medical care after son dies at Fort Knox

Mother: ‘lack of medical treatment killed my son’

INDIANAPOLIS – The family of a soldier who died in a medical transition program is raising questions about the care he received after he was wounded in Iraq.\n“I think the Army’s lack of care and lack of medical treatment killed my son,” Kay McMullen of Carmel, mother of 32-year-old Sgt. Gerald J. Cassidy, said Friday.\nCassidy was found in his room at Fort Knox in Kentucky and pronounced dead at about 6:50 p.m. Sept. 21., the military said. At the time of his death, Cassidy was in the Warrior Transition Program, an outpatient program that helps injured soldiers prepare to return to duty or be evaluated for disability. He was buried this week.\nFort Knox spokeswoman Connie Shaffery said Friday that Cassidy’s death is being investigated by the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division, which investigates all unattended deaths. Officials are awaiting lab results from a military autopsy, which could take several weeks, she said.\n“This is something that is serious to Fort Knox and to the Army,” Shaffery said. She said the well-being of soldiers in the Warrior Transition Unit was a particular concern.\n“Every aspect of his death is being investigated,” she added.\nMcMullen said the transition unit is not equipped to handle all the wounded soldiers it receives.\n“They have more patients and more wounded soldiers than they have the facilities and the doctors to take care of them,” she said.\nMcMullen said she had been trying to get her son transferred to an Indianapolis hospital where he could receive care she believed would be more adequate. Cassidy’s family said he had suffered migraine headaches and other symptoms after suffering a severe head injury from a roadside bomb in June 2006.\nAn independent autopsy found Cassidy could have been dead 15 hours before he was discovered, the family said, and they believe he may have been unconscious as long as two days. His wife had not had a phone call from him for three days when she called Fort Knox on Sept. 21 and pleaded with the Army to check on his condition, McMullen said.\n“She started calling the Fort early Friday morning begging for help. She said please, please find my husband,” McMullen said.\nShaffery said the days before Cassidy’s death also were being investigated.\nCassidy, of Westfield, was a member of the Lebanon-based Battery C of the 2-150th Field Artillery Battalion. He was deployed to Iraq with a brigade combat team from the Minnesota National Guard.

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