Pvt. Wayne Brian Griffith, USA
A message from Wayne's Family:
Wayne Brian Griffith was a loving son, father and brother. All he wanted was a good life for himself and his children. He thought joining the military would be the perfect option. It would offer structure, stability and a wonderful future that he would be proud of .
Wayne joined the Army in 2007 and completed his basic training at Fort Jackson. He was so pleased with himself and our family could not have been more proud . From basic training Wayne then went to Korea for two years. It was the first time in his life that he would have to spend that much time away from us. Despite the distance, we were still very close and stayed in contact with one another. He was doing great and he loved being in the Army. He was excelling very well and very fast.
In 2010 Wayne was sent to Fort Benning Georgia. This is when everything started to change. While there, he fell down a flight of stairs and injured his ankle, requiring surgery to insert metal plates and screws, followed by physical therapy. The pain was tremendous and he was prescribed an assortment of medications. Despite his condition the army deployed him just 69 days after surgery. He had not even finished physical therapy and was still in a cam boot. But that didn't stop the Army.
While deployed, Wayne slipped on the rough terrain and reinjured his fragile, not yet healed ankle. The hardware started to come out. By now, he was on the maximum dosage of three major narcotic pain pills just so he could function. He was forced to wait almost 8 months for surgery to remove the hardware from his ankle. During this time the number of medications for pain was dramatically increased with no plan of care to taper him off or discontinue use. These medications included Roxicet, Oxycodone, Oxycontin, Percocet, Tramadol, Hydrocodone, Lorazepam, and Seroquel. In addition, he was put on a Fentanyl Patch for over a year.
In September 2012, Wayne was able to come home for a brief visit. It was a wonderful time for our family and despite his medical problems, he looked better than ever. He was very excited that his med board had been approved and an honorable discharge scheduled for October 6 2012. While he was home with us he was making plans for his much awaited civilian life . He returned to Fort Benning, Georgia for what he was led to believe was his out processing procedure. In a confusing turn of events, the date of October 6, 2012 came and went and he was still there. In conversations with Wayne he did not know why he was still there and our family encouraged him to contact a JAG for answers. He said he did not want to do that for fear of creating "more" waves for himself. Days went by and we could tell Wayne was getting more and more depressed. He was not himself, but as usual, he didn't want us to worry and assured us he was fine.
On the date of October 14, 2012, the E.M.S was called between 1700 and 1800 hours. Wayne was not taken to the emergency room according to sworn statements from our "first" C.I.D report and we would like to know why. However, the E.M.S was called at 12:25 on October 15, 2012 and he was taken to the emergency room. While there, Wayne's staff sergeant stayed the entire visit with him. While at the E.R where Wayne was being evaluated for Altered Mental Status and he was taken for a C.T scan of his brain and over 100 images were taken. Then a urinalysis for drugs was performed which showed that he was only positive for a BENZODIAZEPINE, Blood was drawn and showed elevated levels that were never addressed. It was not until Wayne was given 2 full mgs. of Narcan as an anticdote that the treating doctor stated Wayne showed a response to the Narcan but never the less released him to his unit. He was accompanied by his staff sergeant who signed for his release after the doctor stated Wayne was not a threat to himself or others. The doctor did not have Wayne evaluated by mental health and told the staff sergeant to take him back home and let him "SLEEP IT OFF." Wayne was considered to be a high risk soldier, however, his unit failed him by their own admittance. Wayne's status was never elevated and his staff sergeant stated in sworn testimony that he returned him to his room and leaving him unattended.
My brother, Wayne Brian Griffith, was found deceased in his room after having missed morning formation on the morning of October 16, 2012. Since then my family and I have received drastically inconsistent accounts of events. The C.I.D report we received had someone else's name on it; not Wayne's. The room where Wayne was found was in fact not his room. We also acquired a copy of the medical exam report which listed he had a broken left wrist but the autopsy makes no mention of this injury. We received a final copy of a report from a Surgeon General of the Army which states Wayne being rushed to the emergency room on October 16, 2012 where life saving measures were unsuccessful. This is totally false. Wayne only went to the hospital on October 16, 2012 to go the morgue. In addition, the death scene photos are inconsistent with the autopsy photos and the death scene sketch. Wayne was found by two soldiers who just looked at him and assumed he was dead. They never checked for vitals nor did they attempt CPR. They looked at him, called E.M.S, and waited in the hallway until they arrived.
In documentation from the E.M.S report, Wayne had clearly been deceased for hours, however they documented getting a glucose reading of 117. E.M.S also documents checking for cardiac activity using E.K.G leads. To this date, we have no proof that was ever done. My family and I have sent several FIOA requests for a copy of this documentation and to date have not received any yet. If the E.K.G leads were on Wayne's body they were removed by the docotor who performed the autopsy before any photos were taken. Our family has issues with this because Wayne's death was pronounced via telephone and in the death scene photos before placing Wayne in the body bag they placed both hands on Waynes chest. Wayne was then taken to morgue and placed in the cooler however the med exam shows that "broken left wrist" that the autopsy makes no mention of being bent inward and raised. The Army has not to date shown ANY proof that our loved one was in fact deceased when he was put in that body bag and hauled off to the morgue. The secondary trauma that we have had to endure is horrific.Our family was assigned a Casualty Assistance Office (CAO) to help us through the process of losing our loved one. However, this was very short lived because he was transferred out. The Army did not reassign a new C.A.O until November leaving us several months to endure this on our own. The only reason we were reassigned was because a new 15-6 being done that has to be delivered by C.A.O. Every time someone new is assigned to the case my family relives the nightmare over and over again. We will be scared for life. It is hard enough to lose a loved one but to know that the Army has "BLAME THE VICTIM" syndrome is so much more to bear. To add insult to injury, the belongings from Wayne's memorial service was delivered to our family in a bright pink party bag with a multicolored bow along with a coffee stained letter of condolence. Wayne died for you, me, and our country and this is the respect given to him and our family?
To date there is still not a chain of custody for the clothes Wayne was wearing at his time of death, His wallet, underwear,back pack, and his Army shoulder bag are missing and the army tells us they cannot prove that Wayne ever had them. In my opinion, the Army toyed with Wayne over and over again and now they are toying with our family. Our last FIOA requests were lost and we are still waiting for answers in the midst of a congressional the fourth C.I.D investigation and our second 15-6 investigation. After all of this they have determined Waynes death "NOT" to be in the line of duty. We are now appealing . ~ Debra Blasko, sister of Wayne B. Griffith.
UPDATE: Wayne's family has been successful in getting the Line of Duty changed! More information coming soon!