November 18, 2009
Contact:
Emerson Brown, NPR


   

NPR NEWS HAS OBTAINED ARMY MEMO ABOUT NIDAL HASAN
HARSHLY CRITICIZING HIS WORK PERFORMANCE

MEMO FROM WALTER REED SUPERVISOR, DATED SPRING 2007,
CITES "PATTERN OF POOR JUDGMENT AND A LACK OF PROFESSIONALISM"

November 18, 2009; Washington, D.C. – NPR News correspondent Daniel Zwerdling has obtained an Army document from the official file of alleged Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan -- the first written evaluation from his record that has surfaced -- in which his supervisor at Walter Reed Army Medical Center outlined "serious concerns" about Hasan, and harshly criticized his "professionalism and work ethic." The letter, dated May 2007 and signed by Major Scott Moran, chief of psychiatry residents at Walter Reed, states that Hasan "demonstrates a pattern of poor judgment and a lack of professionalism." It also lists related offenses, such as mistreating a homicidal patient, not responding to emergency calls and seeing hardly any patients, at a time when Walter Reed's psychiatric staff was overwhelmed.

A transcript of the full letter is now posted at NPR.org, where there is additional information and links to related reporting by Zwerdling. His report is also airing tonight on NPR News’ All Things Considered. For local stations and broadcast times, visit www.NPR.org/stations

The memo outlines numerous problems over the course of Hasan’s training, as Zwerdling reports: "For instance, Hasan proselytized to his patients. He mistreated a homicidal patient, and allowed her to escape from the emergency room. He blew off an important exam. Hasan hardly did any work: he saw only 30 patients in 38 weeks. Sources at Walter Reed say most psychiatrists see at least 10 times that many. When Hasan was supposed to be on call for emergencies, he didn't even answer the phone."

Zwerdling shared the letter with three leading psychotherapists outside the military; he reports they say the content is so damning, that it might have stopped Hasan's career had he left the Army. Dr. Steven Sharfstein, who runs the Sheppard Pratt psychiatric medical center in Baltimore, tells Zwerdling: "Even if we were desperate for a psychiatrist, we would not even get him to the point where we would invite him for an interview." He continues: "There are all kinds of warning signs flashing red lights...you'd say, oh no, this is not somebody that we would take a chance on."

All excerpts must be credited to NPR News. Television usage must include on-screen credit with NPR logo. Zwerdling has continuously broken news about Hasan's career at Walter Reed; his prior reports and all of NPR's coverage on the shooting at Fort Hood are available at: www.NPR.org