Colonel Kimberley Kesling had a unique position Thursday, minutes after gunfire erupted on the world's largest military installation.
She had to direct a full staff of doctors, nurses, and medical technicians in the Emergency Room at Darnall Army Medical Center, the post's only hospital, as they cared for the streams of patients coming in the doors.
"We were able to mobilize...and take great care of those patients," Kesling said.
But just hours after the chaos that left 13 dead and 30 hospitalized with gunshot wounds, she learned she was the suspect's boss.
Major Nidal Malik Hasan practiced psychiatry under her supervision after transferring in July from Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
"In our facility he was doing a very good job," Kesling said. "He cared for his patients and he cared for them well. And he was a valued member of our team."
During an informal press gathering Sunday night at Fort Hood, Kesling hesitated for a moment when asked about Hasan's past.
"I honestly can't speak to what happened at Walter Reed," she said.
When pressed by reporters, Kesling revealed she had viewed some of Hasan's records from his previous assignment at the Maryland base.
"His evaluation reports said that he had some trouble in his residency fitting into his residency," Kesling said. "So we worked very hard to integrate him into our practice and integrated into our organization and he was doing very well."
Kesling would not go into details about what concerned her from Hasan's past employment records.
Published reports say he had trouble relating to patients during his residency at the center, which he completed in 2007.
"The types of things that were reported to me via his evaluation report were things that concerned me but did not raise red flags toward this in any way shape or form," she said. "I was shocked."
As for the patients under Hasan's care, only a few have contacted hospital staff to continue their care, Kesling said.
Now, she and her team of doctors must come up with a plan to take care of the psychological wounds for soldiers and their families, that could take years to heal.
"We will address all of that in the next few days," she said.
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