Saturday, May 21, 2011

Update on Lieutenant Jarell Wadell

If you need a backdrop to the story, here's one for the blog site.

On January 12, 2010 at 1:30 PM CST, 2nd Lt Jarell Waddell, was failed and neglected by the Air Force and the healthcare system in Shreveport, Louisiana. Lt Waddell became very sick while at work and he became much disoriented and couldn’t walk. He was carried out by an individual in his section, and had to be told how to move his feet in order for him to walk. No 911 call was made to get him the professional help that he desperately needed. Instead of the emergency call, the senior airman was commanded to take Waddell to two hospitals: Willis-Knighton and QuickCare. They both arrived at the first hospital, Willis-Knighton, and sat in the ER waiting area. After waiting, Lt Waddell’s vitals were checked and it was noted (but ignored) that his heart rate and blood pressure were both elevated. He explained to the staff that he was disoriented and that he had excruciating pain in his legs. The staff person that was tending to him explained to both he and the senior airman that it would be a 5-hour wait before he could be seen. Lt Waddell told them he needed to see a doctor now because of how painful his condition was and how it was worsening by the second. They suggested that he drink fluids, but they never checked his legs for the reason the pain and disorientation was occurring, and they said that he was probably dehydrated. He explained to the staff person that it wasn’t dehydration and that he needed to see a doctor. The staff then explained to him if he wanted to be seen any faster, that he should go home and call 911 and request an ambulance as that would speed up the process of being seen.

Still in horrible pain, Lt Waddell was walked back to the senior airman's car and taken to the second hospital, QuickCare. At this hospital, the senior airman walked him in and they both sat and waited in the emergency room waiting area. After another wait, there was a staff person who came and took Lt Waddell’s vitals; again, his blood pressure and heart rate were both high. No other tests (urine samples, blood work, etc.) were taken at this facility either. He explained to the staff person that his legs were in even worse pain from earlier and that the disorientation was more frequent and alarming. The staff person explained that it would be a 4 to 5 hour wait and that there were no beds available at the moment. Lt Waddell and the senior airman explained that that he needed to see a doctor right away and that he could no longer wait. The staff person then explained to Lt Jarell, that if he wanted to be seen any quicker that he should go home, and call an ambulance, and then he would get seen by a doctor faster. After waiting for a while, and not being seen, Lt Waddell and the senior airman no choice but to leave the facility and start for Lt Waddell’s apartment. The senior airman walked Lt Waddell back to the car and drove him to the apartment that evening. Upon arrival, Lt Waddell was walking like he was on barbwire-laced stilts, and being that he stayed on the second floor; this made it more difficult forthe airman to assist Lt Waddell in walking and a more painful time for Waddell to move. He was brought into his apartment and sat on the couch. The airman left and this left Lt Waddell to fend for himself with the pain and disorientation.

Lt Waddell managed to make a 911 emergency call. When the call was made, Waddell explained to the dispatcher that his legs were extremely cramping and hurting; in a pain to the feeling of dying and that he was in and out of consciousness (which was his disorientation getting worse). She then explained to him that he could not be transported to a hospital just for leg cramps. He began to beg and somewhat cry to her to please send someone. She then took his address and contacted an EMS unit in the area. Around 7:30, the EMS unit arrived to Lt Waddell’s apartment, found sitting on his couch, grabbing his legs, and rocking back and forth in pain. They took his vitals then asked things like his age, rank, and what was wrong. He explained to them that he was not able to walk due to the excruciating leg pain &disorientation that he himself endured all day, and needed to be transported to the hospital immediately. He also explained that he had been to two hospitals and the hospital staff told him that the wait would be long and that he should go home and call for an ambulance. They then explained to him that he couldn’t be transported just for some legs cramps. He then replied that he was extremely disoriented and that he really needed help. The EMS unit staff replied that Lt Waddell was 22, strong, and that he would be ok and they can’t transport him for leg cramps. Waddell then asked helplessly, “So you all are just going to leave me here to die?” The EMS Unit staff told Lt Waddell that he was not going to die and would be ok. They told him that he would be ok, they had other calls to get to, and to call them back if it got any worse. They then left him alone in his apartment.

Lt Waddell didn’t report to PT the next morning, January 13, which starts at 0700. There was a text message sent by his NCO to check on the status of my son that morning, but he received no reply. About 2:30 PM that very same day, the squadron he worked for finally decided to check on my son. Two commanders and a First Sergeant were let in the apartment by the apartment manager and found him in his room: unconscious, bleeding from his eyes and mouth, and quietly gurgling on his own blood. An ambulance was called and when they got to Lt Waddell’s body they performed a field tracheotomy and rushed him to the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center: there, he was put on life support. Lt Waddell went into renal failure and was diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis which caused compartment syndrome in his legs from the get-go. The LSU doctors said that he would never walk again and be brain dead, even if he made it, because he was down for approximately 16 to 18 hours. A group and section commander also added that even if Waddell came out of his coma that he wouldn’t remember what happened. Lt Waddell remembered the whole situation. Lt Waddell has lost 90% of the muscle in his lower right leg, 60% of the muscle in his lower left leg. He’s had over 15 surgeries and almost a dozen  blood transfusions. He has no feeling in his right foot, and his dorsiflexion (the muscles to pull the foot towards the leg) is gone. He’s also lost feeling in his upper thigh on the right leg and was paralyzed for several months; he was confined to a wheelchair until mid Fall of 2010. He was forced to stay in a civilian state hospital even after his mother requested, once he was stable, that he be sent to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C., which is a military hospital, and also closer to his family in North Carolina. His mother was denied by a case worker from medical management at the base he was stationed at on the request of going to Walter Reed Hospital around January 20, 2010. Ms. Waddell was told that Walter Reed was saving beds for soldiers coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan, and her son would not be able to go there because it was not a combat related incident.

Ms. Waddell asked could he be flown to UNC-Chapel Hill Hospital and the caseworker told Ms. Waddell that the military won’t fly him to another hospital and to keep him in Louisiana and send him to another civilian hospital, The Promise Hospital in Bossier City/Shreveport, (which is a hospice that caters to the dying) until she could work some things out for him back home in North Carolina. Ms. Waddell began to seek help from my family members back in North Carolina to get in touch with Congressman Mike McIntyre and Senator Kay Hagan to find out why her son couldn’t be transferred to Walter Reed or UNC-Chapel Hill Hospital. It seems only then when she started to take these actions that the case worker and the medical group commander of the base, brought up a new suggestion of sending her son to Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. Lt. Waddell did not want to be pushed any further away from his family; he wanted to be closer to his family. The request for Walter Reed, which is closer to our family, was the one of the central reasons they requested to be moved. It appeared as if the Air Force didn’t want him to leave the hospital he was currently in, or for that matter, Louisiana.

This has been a complete nightmare for Ms. Waddell and her son. She's asked the squadron commander several times for an investigation on how this was handled and the beginning and throughout the chain of events leading to the present day; she has yet to receive an answer from anyone. She requested his medical records from his home base on January 29, 2010 and was only given 6 sheets of medical paperwork which didn’t even have information of current physicals or other current medical information in the paperwork. Another thing to note is that when she did get the medical records they were already pulled for me by the family liaison officer that was assigned to them. She questioned why this was allowed and why did it happen, being that the family liason officer doesn’t have consent and is not authorized to obtain her son’s medical records; she was never given an explanation. This whole thing is a neglectful act is being treated as a cover up or pushed aside as if it never happened.

Lt Waddell didn’t do this to himself or ask to be treated in this manner, which has been nothing short deplorable as United States Air Force Officer. His base and squadron leadership has to be held accountable for him and the treatment he received throughout this whole ordeal since January 12, 2010. They failed him due to the neglectful actions and poor decision-making. The healthcare system failed him, including the fact that they didn’t give him a correct prognosis and diagnosis. Above all, the Air Force failed him; they allowed and facilitated all of this to happen. He worked so hard graduating from college and commissioning via AFROTC. Lt Waddell always wanted to serve his country in the Air Force, even as a child. With all that has been said and explained, the hope is that this does not happen to any other airman or soldier that may come into the military, healthy and eager to serve their country, only when they are down, sick, or injured they then are treated like a 3rd class citizen.

President Barack Obama, Congressman Mike McIntyre, Senator Kay Hagan, Senator David Vitter, and Congressman John Fleming, have been contacted and invited to visit Lt Waddell at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. This incident signifies that healthcare reform is needed more than ever. This would make sure that competent doctors, medical staff, EMS, and all healthcare givers are able to give proper treatment to patients, regardless of their age, whether or not they look sick, or if they have to claim a condition they don’t have to be transported and treated at a healthcare facility. Lt Waddell's past condition is still being considered a mystery (with no diagnosis) but a miracle, because of what he’s been through and still has to endure.

Here are some final points to think about and remember:

1) LT Waddell got sick at WORK and disoriented and couldn’t walk.
2) NO 911 call was made for him at work (he requested this) and
instead he had to be carried out by others.
3) They by passed the clinic on base, which was not in the consent of
LT Waddell (it might’ve help but didn’t happen.
4) He was taken to the Willis-Knghton ER the QuickCare ER.
5) He was told at the clinic it would be a 5 hr wait until he can be seen.
6) Told by Healthcare Professionals to go home and call 911 and he
would get in quicker
7) The EMS arrived and told LT Waddell they could not transport him with just
leg cramps and to call them back if it gets worse.
8) LT Waddell begged them to take him to the hospital but they wouldn’t.

Today, LT Waddell is walking and is recovering at a constant rate at Walter Reed Army medical Center. He now walks, drives, and enjoys life again. He cannot run yet, but has loss nerve sensory mostly in his right leg and much of his left leg. There were some life adjustments but he moves and lives as if nothing ever slowed him down or held him back, which is a blessing from God. Looking at him today, minus his long leg scars, you cannot tell that he endured this tragic tribulation. He frequently visits his hometown of Fayetteville, North Carolina, and still enjoys producing music and DJing, which has been a pasttime of his since the age of 11.

Keep him in your prayers, and keep checking in on his progress....

Jarred Waddell

Thank you so much for posting this,
Barbara Waddell


Nicole said...

Miss Wadell I really hope you get this message I work for Progress Energy you were telling me your story of your son, and although I couldnt talk at the time I would really like to speak with you. I called your number and it stays busy. Read your sons story and really would like to speak to you concerning it please email me at

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Anonymous said...

Ms. Waddell,
I met you in the doctor's office Thursday when you were there with you mother. I r wanted you to know I did read this story. My heart broke from the first paragraph on. No one should ever be treated like this. No parent should ever have to watch and hear of the horror their child went through. This injustice is awful. Please know my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
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Anonymous said...

He died