Army Fires Commander of High-Profile Hospital
Maj. Gen. George Weightman was fired as commander of Walter Reed Army Medical Center because the Army said it had lost confidence in his leadership abilities, the Washington Post reports. Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley, surgeon general of the Army and commander of the U.S. Army Medical Command, temporarily will assume Weightman's duties at Walter Reed (Vogel/Branigin, Washington Post, 3/2).
The Post recently published a two-part series that examined conditions at the military hospital. One article profiled the state of Building 18, which has mold, cockroaches and stained carpets, among other issues. The series also examined the process by which injured soldiers seek disability compensation.
According to veterans groups and some members of Congress, top military officials including Kiley have known about problems at the facility since 2003 (California Healthline, 3/1).
In a statement, Army leadership said it had "lost trust and confidence" in Weightman's ability "to address needed solutions for soldier outpatient care." The decision to relieve Weightman reportedly came from Army Secretary Francis Harvey and has been endorsed by Defense Secretary Robert Gates (Burns, AP/Long Island Newsday, 3/2).
Weightman had held the post since Aug. 25, 2006 (Cloud, New York Times, 3/2).
Kiley previously held the position (Goldstein, Kansas City Star, 3/2).
The Army also has taken disciplinary action against four lower-level staffers involved in outpatient care at Walter Reed (New York Times, 3/2).
Navy and Marine Corps leaders on Thursday testified at a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee on the quality of care received by wounded soldiers at their medical facilities.
Navy Secretary Donald Winter, Chief of Naval Operations Michael Mullen and Marine Corps Commandant James Conway said they had reviewed their medical facilities and found no problems similar to those present at Walter Reed.
Mullen said that "very few" sailors needed the type of long-term outpatient care needed by many recovering soldiers at Walter Reed (Kreisher, CongressDaily, 3/1).
Several broadcast programs reported on Weightman's dismissal. Summaries appear below:
- ABC's "World News": The segment includes comments from Weightman, Gates, Kiley, Steve Robinson of Veterans for America and Obama (Kurley, "World News," ABC, 3/1). Video of the segment is available online. Expanded ABC News coverage of conditions at Walter Reed is available online.
- NPR's "All Things Considered": "All Things Considered" host Michele Norris discussed Weightman's firing and other issues related to Walter Reed with NPR Pentagon correspondent Guy Raz (Norris, "All Things Considered," NPR, 3/1). Audio of the segment is available online.
- NPR's "Morning Edition": The segment includes comments from Army spokesperson Paul Boyce and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) (Raz, "Morning Edition," NPR, 3/2). Audio of the segment is available online.
- NBC's "Nightly News": The segment includes comments from Kiley, Gates, McCaskill and Robinson (Miklaszewski, "Nightly News," NBC, 3/1). Video of the segment is available online.