On my son's very first day at BMT in Lackland this week, he was injured, cutting his head pretty badly. They sent him to Brooke Army Medical Center for nine stitches. The head is fine, but while in the hospital they discovered something irregular with his heart: atrial fibrillation that didn't correct till the next morning. He was discharged from the hospital two days ago and is now in med hold, 319.
He was first told this condition was disqualifying, then told it depended, then told not to worry, then that it was disqualifying. He doesn't want to be disqualified, and we are all upset and worried.
I've read through some of the posts here and will be sure to keep writing my son to help his morale.
Does anyone know how long he will be there and what he'll be going through? Does he get to plead his case, kind of thing? Will he be going through further testing?
Thank you for any info/encouragement.
No simple or encouraging answer. Any type of atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter unless single episode of atrial fibrillation clearly associated with reversible cause, is listed as unfit for military service.
There is a whole bunch of test required even for single episode atrial fibrillation with clearly reversible cause to determine if assignment limitation and duty limitation waivers are appropriate and can accommodate continued military service. Regardless a Medical Evaluation Board is in his immediate future.
Thank you very much for responding. So it sounds like it's out of his hands completely and he is in store for lots of heart testing and this MEB process. Do you know how long that might take? I read somewhere here, I think, that 90 days is an average time to be in med hold. Do you know anything about that? Thank you.
Completely clueless, average indicates some decisions took longer than 90 days and other less than 90 days. How much longer or how much shorter is unknown to me.
Also "injured, cutting his head pretty badly on first day of BMT" is not an ordinary or typical event. Hopefully the atrial fibrillation didn't result in a dizzy spell or loss of conciousness event causing a fall which resulted in the head injury.
Too many variables to speculate further as being put on a EKG device to find such disorder for such an injury wouldn't typically be done unless signs and symptoms caused an underlying condition suspected in addition to the laceration wound.
Yes, I see your point. Damn. Well, he did say he fell and cracked his head open, versus an episode of dizziness or loss of consciousness. And he must have been fully conscious right afterwards, b/c he told me very clearly what the DI was saying to him. But yeah, who really knows. To bring in the EKG, hmm. With your vocabulary and insight, you are obviously well-versed. I appreciate so much your input. I will keep the faith with my son and send him encouraging letters. Also will keep in touch here in case it helps anyone else.
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I know you and your son are both hoping for a return to duty, versus permanent DQ. If there's ANY doubt at all, AF MUST err on the side of the best interests of the Air Force AND anyone--including your son--whose safety and well-being could be compromised somewhere down the road.
Hoping for the best for your son.
Happy to be here, proud to serve.
Another good point. We have been flabbergasted at this since he's never had any issue at all, so we've been looking at it as a SNAFU. But maybe it's the best thing if he really does have a condition. Still, we will be hoping for the single-episode type. Thank you for your response.
It is not unusual for medical issues to surface during BMT. A fellow trainee in my daughter's flight last year 'dropped' while they were out running one day and during subsequent medical tests it was discovered that she had a congenital heart issue. She was discharged after a bunch of tests and a few weeks in the 319th. On the other hand our daughter spent 5 weeks in the 319th with pneumonia, returned to training and graduated about 18 months ago.
As the Major pointed out the Air Force has to err on the side of caution and take into account what is best for everyone. Good luck to you and your son.
Yes, I suppose that makes sense, doesn't it, if they're being pushed harder than they ever have been.
Thanks for your info, and I'm glad for you that it worked out with your daughter.
I was put out for a heart problem found in basic, now as a civi only can be found at "fun points" (ie when i am not in an office being tested... the joy) I was diagnosed with Long QT syndrome, which is an arrhythmia.
Tell your son, that it sucks and is disheartening, but its for his safety and those around him, and the addage when one door closes another one opens is true.
I would also personally if hes not presented again, see if he can push for a stress test as well, I know when they were investigating my problem all i got was a handful of EKGs and two echos. and only a handful of those test rendered anything indicator-y. (also if he gets told its a no-go get copies of his records to go home with to take to a cardiologist near you, heart problems are no joke) If he wants to push to stay in and its only presented once I would get him to get as much testing as he can show it was something causing it, rather then being a long term condition.
Tell best of luck, keep his head held high and things will be what they will be but there plenty of things he can do to serve his country and do just as much good if he is not allowed to continue!
"Fun points," huh?
Thank you for your very good advice.
I heard from my son today finally. He was returned to training after one week in medical holding.
I'm passing on these details in case they help other moms or dads with similar questions:
Within three or four days of being there in the 319th, he'd had a consultation with a contract cardiologist, who had a different opinion and ran another EKG, which was normal. I'm not sure whether anything additional happened between that and his return, because I've only had one call since then and that was short.
Anyway, we're grateful for how quickly the retesting/reevaluation was accomplished, because my son sounded pretty demoralized to be in the 319th. He had run into people like one guy who "wouldn't stop *****ing," including talking about having been there for many months already, and others who seemed seriously depressed, and so he was hoping that wasn't in store for him too.
He told us in the 319th they're allowed one 15-minute period per week to call loved ones. We received two calls from him during his week there. The first was on a Friday, which I forget the time, and the second was on a Tuesday, from 5:30-5:45 p.m. The second time, he was able to text us a couple minutes beforehand to alert us to be ready. He told us people's personal cell phones are locked up in a bin until this certain 15-minute period that takes place for everyone at the same time.
And that's all I know about the 319th.
As far as transitioning from the 319th back to training, he said in his call today that it was very abrupt and he wasn't given an opportunity to call. That's why it's been almost two weeks since we've received a call from him.
He also sounded kind of shell-shocked, bless his heart, so I had to remind him that at least he's out of the 319th and to try to focus on counting down to graduation day when this will all be over.
Glad all worked out for the better.
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I has been very hot in Texas, and an irregular heartbeat can be caused by heat related issues, both minor - dehydration and major - heat stroke.
Well, the good news is that my son graduated this past weekend. It was great to see. The bad news is that he's back in the 319th. I'm passing along this info in case it helps anyone else.
Apparently, during some part of the process of being sent first to the hospital, then to the 319th, then returned to training in a different flight, something was overlooked: a cardiology followup he was supposed to have had in order to be cleared by this flight physical needed for his eventual job. This wasn't discovered in time for his orders to have been written upon graduation. So now he's back to the 319th pending the followup, which he doesn't know when that will be, and the physical, which they gave him his first day back there, so hopefully it won't be too long.
If something similar happens to anyone reading this, and if it's possible to ask anything of MTIs, I would suggest asking your new MTI to please check with Education & Testing ASAP for anything you might be missing for your job, so that you won't be held over like my son.
Thankfully, at least they seem to treat you differently in the 319th when you're an Airman versus a trainee. He says now he gets base liberty from 1700 to 2000 each weekday and from 0900 to 2000 each weekend day. Also, he says they can have visitors. Also, he has been assigned next to other Airmen versus trainees, so the morale is better. He is spending his days so far doing different details.This message has been edited. Last edited by: speedywriter,
Thank you, Dave, that's good to know. (I hadn't seen your post before.)
Heat Stroke however is a physiological malfunction for lack of simpler explanation (inability to sweat not necessarily caused by dehydration) as it is a manifestation occurring when the body loses control of its thermo-regulatory mechanism. Like High Altitude Illness which is also a life-threatening emergency where organ functions go haywire adapting to environment one attack of heat stroke predisposes a person to a second attack, so avoiding subsequent exposures is a concern.
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