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Broward continues to fail its mentally ill; The sad case of Broward’s ‘Forgotten Soldier’

South Florida State Hospital in Pembroke Pines
South Florida State Hospital in Pembroke Pines

By Owen McNamee and Douglas Brawley Special to BrowardBulldog.org, Oct 24, 2014 –  Twenty years ago eighteen members of a Broward Grand Jury issued a scathing report that concluded the county’s mental health system was under-financed, fragmented and leaderless. They found the system was failing thousands of mentally ill and disabled persons and causing hundreds to wind up in jail or endure forced hospitalizations without needed treatment.

Twenty years later, we are still failing this vulnerable population.

Meet the Forgotten Soldier. He is a proud former Marine in his late fifties who has been consistently misdiagnosed and has languished illegally for years in facilities without appropriate care.

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Editor’s Note: Owen McNamee heads the mental health division of the Broward Public Defender’s Office. Douglas Brawley is an assistant Broward public defender and attorney for the Forgotten Soldier.