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PTSD

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.

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 expanding workers’ compensation coverage to first responders with post-traumatic stress disorder has been filed for the 2018 Legislative session.

A growing number of veterans are acquiring service dogs to help cope with PTSD. But the VA won’t pay for them and says their effectiveness hasn’t been scientifically proven.

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

The U.S. has seen an increased rate of suicide among its veterans, and those deaths can change the lives of family and friends forever. This week on Florida Matters, our special two-part program on veteran suicide and the impact it can have on comrades and loved ones continues.


 

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 spent four hours taking care of the dead at Pulse.

His wife Jessica says he went on disability and then was paid through a city crime prevention fund, but now the family has been told his sick and vacation time are gone.

“I’ve been wondering, What is really Orlando United? Is it the victims? Is it the survivors? Is it our community? What does that really mean?”

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

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. 

The debilitating effects of post traumatic stress are well documented. But studies suggest that surviving trauma might also lead to personal growth.

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

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.

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.


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.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

A ceremonial seed planting will be part of today's official opening of the Veterans' Garden, 918 W. Sligh Avenue in Tampa,  across from Lowry Park Zoo.

The event is set for 10:30 a.m. and will include recognition of USAA, which provided  a grant to expand the sustainable garden for veterans.

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.

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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.

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

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